The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

The Greenside Case : Vital issues at stake for the protection of listed buildings

The Twentieth Century Society to give evidence at Public Inquiry commencing Tuesday 23 November

Today (23 November) the Public Inquiry convened by the Deputy Prime Minister opens into the ‘Greenside’ case. The Inquiry will consider the applications by Mr D. Beadle (1) for consent to demolish ‘Greenside’ at Chestnut Avenue, Wentworth, Virginia Water, Surrey, and (2) to build a replacement house. The applications were ‘called-in’ by the Deputy Prime Minister for his decision.

The Inquiry will be held at the Civic Centre, Addlestone, Surrey. It is expected to last two weeks.

Both The Twentieth Century Society and English Heritage will be presenting evidence in opposition to Mr Beadle’s applications. The Twentieth Century Society’s campaign has received tremendous support from the National Committee of Amenity Societies; and from numerous other concerned organisations and individual members of the public.

“Greenside was an important example of British twentieth century architecture. Although the building cannot now be saved (it was demolished by Mr Beadle in November 2003), there are still critical issues at stake which will be of vital importance for the future protection and conservation of our architectural heritage.”
Gavin Stamp (Chairman of The Twentieth Century Society)

The Twentieth Century Society will be represented at the Inquiry by Mr John Dagg of Counsel. He is instructed by Joseph Mirwitch, the Society’s Honorary Solicitor. The expert witnesses who will be giving evidence in support of the Society’s case are: Alan Powers (architectural historian & critic); John Allan (architect); Stuart Tappin (structural engineer); and Malcolm Judd (chartered surveyor and town planner).

More information on The Greenside case

Note to editors: Following is the opening statement to the Inquiry of John Dagg, Counsel for The Twentieth Century Society.

Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 s. 12

Town and Country Planning Act 1990 s. 77
Public Local Inquiry into Applications by Mr. D. Beadle for Listed Building Consent to demolish ‘ Greenside’ and for Planning Permission for a new house.

23rd November 2004


The Twentieth Century Society

  1. The Society is the national amenity society concerned with the study, appreciation and protection of British architecture and design of the period since 1914. It takes an active role in promoting the listing of post 1914 buildings of importance by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. It regularly assists as consultee in the consideration of applications for listed building consent and planning permission.

Twentieth Century Listed Buildings and Greenside

  1. It is important to emphasise the selective approach taken by the Secretary of State and her advisor English Heritage to the listing of C20th buildings. “The approach adopted … is to identify key exemplars for each of a range of building types…”: PPG 15 6.12 . Greenside was listed in 1988 and its listing confirmed in the informal “delisting” appeal in 2001. The Society consider it to have been a very important example of a modern movement house, built in 1937 to the design of the noted architectural practice of Connell, Ward and Lucas.

The Applications

  1. The Society has had a particular involvement in this case. Together with English Heritage and the Ancient Monuments Society it objected to Mr. Beadle’s application for listed building consent to demolish in early 2002. The Members of Runnymede Borough Council, contrary to the careful and comprehensive advice of their planning officers, resolved to grant and the Authority in due course issued a consent to demolish. The Society considered that the basis for that decision to be legally flawed. It pursued an application for judicial review which resulted in both Runnymede and Mr. Beadle agreeing to the quashing of the consent.
  2. The application for listed building consent was again considered by the Runnymede Councillors on 19th November 2003, together with an application for planning permission to replace the existing house. Again, the Members did not accept the considered advice of their officers and resolved to grant consent on “human rights grounds”. They also resolved to grant planning permission. Advice given by officers was that reference to the First Secretary of State was necessary: the Authority could not issue decisions until his position was known.Mr. Beadle demolished the house on 22nd November.

Call in

  1. The Society, supported by other amenity bodies and the R.I.B.A., pressed for both applications to be called in for the First Secretary of State’s decision. It is grateful that he has done so. Notwithstanding the loss of Greenside very important principles relating to the protection of the historic built environment arise out of the application for listed building consent and its consideration by the Runnymede Councillors.
  2. It also seemed to The Society to be right to test the application for planning permission thoroughly. This is a Green Belt situation. Strict national and local development plan policies apply. The application was for replacement of an existing house. But the situation is now different. For a year the site of Greenside has been cleared. It is open. It is the Society’s understanding that the development applied for is inappropriate as a matter of policy. Very special circumstances are required to justify a new house. These do not appear to be made out.


  1. The Society appears at this Inquiry to support and compliment the evidence and submissions of English Heritage in respect of the listed building application.Dr. Alan Powers is an architectural historian with a particular knowledge of 20th Century buildings.

    Mr. John Allen is a practicing architect with extensive expertise in the repair and restoration of listed inter-war reinforced concrete buildings.

    Mr. Stuart Tappin is a practicing civil and structural engineer who has similarly dealt with such buildings.

    Mr. Malcolm Judd is a consultant surveyor and town planner.

    Mr. Judd also deals with the Society’s evidence with regard to the application for planning permission.

    Summary of the Society’s position on the application for listed building consent

  2. The 1990 Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act, the Regulations made under it, national policy in PPG 15 – Planning and the Historic Environment – and local statements of policy form the necessary framework for the determination of listed building applications. The thorough assessment of applications according to the duties and criteria set out is essential to the integrity of the system.Properly examined the available evidence in this case does not demonstrate that a consent for demolition could be justified. Greenside was capable of viable repair and refurbishment.

    The framework of law and policy strikes a reasonable balance between the rights of the property owner and those of the community as a whole. The protection given to listed buildings is not, of course, absolute. The case for demolition can be made – including the position where the costs of repair make the position unviable. But the evidence must be clear. Refusals by Local Planning Authorities can be appealed to the First Secretary of State.

    It is vital that the provisions of the Human Rights Act 1998 should not be misunderstood or misapplied. In the Society’s view that is what the Runnymede Members did. The submissions to be made by English Heritage are strongly supported.

    It is also important to note the strength of support in this respect from third parties. These include other national amenity societies, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Town Planning Institute, and many individuals.

John Dagg
Counsel for The Twentieth Century Society

For further information please contact:
David Hamilton-Peters
The Twentieth Century Society
70 Cowcross Street
London EC1M 6EJ
Tel: 020 7250 3857
Email: administrator(at)