“Greenside” was a very important British ‘modern movement’ house. It was a fine example of the work of Connell, Ward, Lucas, constructed 1937, in the leafy setting of a site immediately adjacent to the 17th green of the Wentworth Golf Course. It was a listed building and this statutory protection should have protected it from arbitrary destruction. In November 2003 ‘Greenside’ was unlawfully destroyed by Mr. David Beadle.
Last Friday (22nd April) Mr. Beadle was sentenced at Guilford Crown Court for his criminal offence of demolishing ‘Greenside’ without listed building consent. He was fined £15,000 and also ordered to pay a contribution towards the prosecution costs of £10,000.
The Twentieth Century Society is concerned that the sentence handed down in this case may well make the future protection of our recent architectural heritage even more difficult. A £15,000 fine does not appear to be at all proportionate to the gain Mr. Beadle sought to make from his unlawful action. (Leading estates agents commissioned by English Heritage estimated that the value of a newly built mansion on the greenside site would be between £4 to £6 million. Mr. Beadle unlawfully demolished Greenside having unsuccessfully tried to market the house for £2,000,000.) Most importantly, The Society doubt whether this fine will serve as any deterrent in future cases where, like Greenside, the development value of the site significantly exceeds the market value of the listed building.
In December last year a public inquiry was held into the questions whether retrospective consent should be given for the demolition of Greenside, and also whether Mr. Beadle’s application for planning permission should be granted to build a new house on the site 110% larger than Greenside. The decision of the Deputy Prime Minister following this public inquiry is awaited. This decision and the Inspector’s Report should have been of vital relevance to the assessment of the seriousness of Mr. Beadle’s offence and of any mitigating factors. The Society considers it is regrettable that sentencing was dealt with at this time, before the result of the public inquiry is known.
Catherine Croft , Director of The Twentieth Century Society commented:
“The Society received the most tremendous public support for its campaign to try and save Greenside. Our lawful efforts to protect Greenside were frustrated by its criminal demolition. I now am fearful that a fine at this level may make even more difficult the future protection of our architectural heritage.”
For further information, contact: Catherine Croft, Director, The Twentieth Century Society, 70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ
Tel: 020 7250 3857