Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The Judicial Review

The Trust has today received confirmation from Waverley that full planning approval has now been granted for the development of Undershaw. This is a clear indication that the owners have complied with the conditions set out by the Council.

Since hearing the news the Trust have been in urgent discussions with the barrister dealing with the case. An application applying for a Judicial Review in the High Court will be submitted and we hopefully anticipate that it will be granted.

Also paperwork is being prepared for an investigation by the Local Government Ombudsman as to the dreadful way in which Waverley have presided over the complete dereliction of Undershaw for the last 5 years. (The two photographs show here Undershaw in its hey day and several years later its demise under the care of the local authorites and its owners).

Should we be successful or unsuccessful whatever the case, at least we will know that justice was sought and the right decision was made. If we stand back and do nothing - we will never know.

Monday, 13 September 2010

ITV London News - Follow-up

I heard from the ITV reporter today who informed me that the International Library Sales Department loved the news item recently shown on ITV London News (which incidentally can be viewed on our website: and that they will be checking to see how many countries this broadcast went out to. At the moment the link can only be viewed within the UK. I will endeavour to find out whether the link can be made available to those following the twists and turns of the Undershaw campaign outside of the UK and perhaps a feature on YouTube.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

ITV London News

The Trust were interviewed and filmed yesterday for a feature on ITV London News which may be shown as early as tonight. I will keep you all updated. We spoke about the pending Judicial Review which incidentally we have instructed our barrister to proceed. We have reasons to believe that Waverley Borough Council are now fairly happy that the owners have complied with all conditions that were attached to the planning approval.

It was distressing to see how easily it is for vandals to get in and destroy what little there is left of this iconic building. There were signs that vandals had been in recently and trashed the site even further. Again no security on the building and the gate at the top of the drive left open for anyone to enter the grounds. We have tried on numerous occasions to alert Waverley Borough Council of this and sadly the owners are not protecting this site or the building sufficiently to counteract further acts of vandalism. It is a total disgrace on our English Heritage to allow such a dreadful crime to be committed to what should be our heritage and something that should prosper for another 100 years or more.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Alistair's visit to Hindhead

I mentioned in a post previously that Alistair Duncan is writing a book about the Undershaw Years. I had the privilige of meeting him last week and in his blog he described his visit to Undershaw as a pilgrimage which I believe many would consider as just that.

Conan Doyle gained the respect of many people during his life time through his books and what he did for society. His popularity grew not only here in England but to all corners of the globe. The respect for his work is still evident even 80 years on since his death in 1930. Through the Sherlock Holmes character played by many actors, he has remained one of our best known literary icons and continues to attract fans from every generation since his passing.

His house is worthy of much more than mundane modern apartments and a trivial gazebo at the end of the garden with a wooden plaque stating that "Conan Doyle lived here". The authorities should seriously consider something more worthy of the man that gave us Sherlock Holmes, worked in a field hospital called the Langman Hospital in the Boer War, and was knighted in 1902 for his services to the crown, who found justice for George Edalji who had been wrongly convicted of assaulting horses/cattle which brought about the Court of Criminal Appeal in 1907 to name but a few.

The meeting with Alistair took us to Undershaw to view the current shameful vandalised state of the building, with more windows broken and again no security. We then travelled onto the graves of Louise Conan Doyle, Kingsley and Mary Conan Doyle and of course Conan Doyle's mother. We finally relaxed in the comfort of the Fox and Pelican where we met with John Gibson to discuss Alistair's new book. I must admit Alistair I do like the title of the book, thank you for sharing it with us.