Our campaign to save the Grade II listed former Birds Eye HQ in Walton on Thames, Surrey, suffered a set back on Friday when the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government refused to call in the application for demolition of the listed building.
Our final option to block the approved demolition of Walton Court is to seek a judicial ruling, and we are now seeking legal advice to explore this possibility. It is vital that this dangerous planning precedent is stopped.
Developers Crest Nicholson argue that the cost of converting the listed building into residential units is too high, and would result in an unviable scheme. Elmbridge Borough Council have failed to deliver their target of new build housing in recent years, and have allocated Walton Court over half of the quota for residential development in the whole of Walton on Thames over the next 15 years. The local authority therefore argue for very exceptional circumstances, claiming that the demolition of Walton Court is the only way their target for new housing in the area can be met. We are unconvinced that there are no other buildings offering development potential in all of Walton on Thames, either on vacant sites or sites occupied by buildings of less architectural significance than Walton Court.
To see a British Pathé film of Walton Court in its heyday, click here.
To read more about Walton Court’s history, see our Building of the Month piece here.