The Twentieth Century Society is delighted to learn that Wandsworth Council’s prosecution of the developer who unlawfully demolished the former caretaker’s office at Brandlehow School has been successful. Listed at Grade II the building was a significant element in the overall composition of one of only two schools completed by the famous C20 architect Erno Goldfinger (best known for Trellick and Balfron towers). It was opened in 1952. For an architect so well-known, Goldfinger was far from prolific, making what does remain all the more important.
Mr Rajiv Laxman, the sole director of Abrus Ltd, has been prosecuted for the unlawful demolition of the building which occurred after he had been refused listed building consent to demolish by both Wandsworth Borough Council and the Government planning inspector.
The fine, which at £11,000 is large for this kind of prosecution, sends a firm message to developers that knocking down all or part of a listed building, whatever its age is unacceptable. The Society had been consulted on the action and had given its support to Wandsworth BC.
A separate action by the council has instructed Mr Laxman that he must now rebuild the school to Goldfinger’s original plan and specifications. The Society is keen that this is done and has pledged to assist Wandsworth in any way possible to make sure that the building is re-instated to the highest possible standards with the greatest degree of accuracy possible.
Although the original historic building has been irretrievably lost, and the end product of the enforcement action will at best be a facsimile, the C20 is also pleased by this result, as the costs to the developer will act as a more effective deterrent than the fine imposed.
For more information and images please contact:
Jon Wright, Caseworker – The Twentieth Century Society,
Tel 020 7250 3857 or e-mail jon.wright(at)c20society.org.uk