22 Jul 2005 04:15 PM

The Deputy Prime Minister has refused both listed building consent for the demolition of an architecturally-important house on the edge of the Wentworth golf course in Surrey and its replacement with a larger house.

Greenside, a Grade 11 building dating from 1937, was demolished by its owner Mr David Beadle in 2004. Beadle was subsequently fined £15,000 plus £10,000 costs in the Crown Court for the unauthorised demolition.

The decision by the SOS is in line with the recommendations of a planning inspector who held an inquiry last year.

In the decision letter from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, the SoS concluded that "Greenside was a very significant building of the International Modern Movement" and was capable of occupation as a dwelling until its demolition.

He also said that the proposed new dwelling was "not a replacement building for Greenside and constitutes inappropriate development in the greenbelt, contrary to the development plan and to PPG3. In his view the proposal would cause significant harm to the openness of the greenbelt."

The letter added: "In demolishing the building without consent, the applicant has by his own actions returned the site to open land in circumstances where he could not be said to have had any legitimate expectation that a new and different building could be erected on the site. In this way, the applicant has himself brought about a state of affairs where there is no building on the land which the proposed new dwelling could properly be said to replace".

The Twentieth Century Society said the decision by the SoS vindicated its campaign over the listed building.

Its director, Catherine Croft, pointed out that Mr Beadle, the owner, now no longer has the distinguished original house nor any prospect of erecting another one on the land.

"This verdict means that his own actions have effectively reduced the value of his property to a fraction of its previous worth. In this way the case is likely to act as a severe deterrent to any other owners who might be considering doing likewise".

She added: "We anticipate that Mr Beadle is likely to appeal to the SoS but we are confident that the ODPM has taken extensive legal advice and that the decision is both morally right and legally sound."

Roger Milne

21st July 2005