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A question re Undershaw

As many of this blog's readers know, Undershaw - the former Surrey home of Arthur Conan Doyle - is under threat. At the present time that threat is mostly from the elements but it is also under the shadow of redevelopment which would irrevocably destroy its character and historical connections.

At present the building is slowly disintegrating as it takes a battering every year from nature and vandals. This forces me to ask a question. Is grade II listing legally enforceable or is it not?

I was under the impression that a building, when listed, had to be kept in good condition by its owners and it was the local authority's job to ensure that they did so. So, assuming I am correct, why is Undershaw slowly falling to bits?

The owners should be keeping the property up to standard until such time as a final ruling is made on the building's future. This applies regardless of whether the ultimate decision goes in their favour or not. However at present the building continues to deteriorate.

The local authority concerned, Waverley Borough Council, stated on their own website that they had been forced to undertake repairs on the building and then chase the owners for reimbursement. So why is nothing being done now?

Surely if the building is listed it is a legal requirement to keep it maintained?? If this is not being enforced, what message does it send? Is it the case that in economically difficult times enforcing the law has become an expensive luxury?

This would be the thin end of the wedge. How long before other laws are not enforced due to budget cuts? Sorry we cannot investigate this murder. We're a bit strapped for cash. You may laugh at the example but it is the same principle.

Food for thought.

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