Undershaw - the saga continues

I have waxed lyrical about Undershaw on numerous occasions and, as regular readers will know, I have played a small part in the efforts to see it preserved. However, I have been growing a little concerned at the questions being asked by fellow supporters as to what is going on in the campaign to save it.

Now this is not an unreasonable question. Since the High Court victory in May of 2012 there has been very little public news and, to a certain extent, the spotlight has moved on. For the house itself very little has changed. As far as I have been able to tell from my distant viewings (necessitated by the cameras that now seem to be around the house) it is still in very much the same condition as it has been in previous years. That condition is poor but does not appear (at the aforementioned distance) to be any poorer than before.
With my book about the Undershaw years in 2011

What I cannot say with any certainty is what the state of the inside of the house is as I have never set foot inside it. This is because I became aware of Undershaw's situation after its owners stopped letting people inside. One can only assume, perhaps unsurprisingly, that they grew fed up letting people inside it only for them to emerge and be publicly critical of the state the building was in.

So, with regards to the inside, all I have to go on are the pictures taken by the Undershaw Preservation Trust in around 2009 - some of which later featured in my book An Entirely New Country. They do not make encouraging viewing.

The thing I find strange, bordering on farcical, is that the owners seem perfectly content to pay for, install and, presumably, maintain security measures to monitor the house without there being any apparent purpose in those security measures.

What do I mean by this?

Well it's rather simple. People usually install security measures to protect their property from the questionable intentions of others. Now while it is true that Undershaw has suffered from vandalism, the house's greatest enemies are nature (whose progress is certainly not stopped by CCTV) and its very owners who, by their apparent neglect, are enabling nature to get on with its damaging work.

The house in its prime
Put another way, Undershaw's owners seem happy for nature to vandalise the building but no one else is allowed to. If they are serious about their desire to sell the house they should be doing all they can to maintain its value. At the moment its real value (as opposed to whatever price they are seeking for it) must be dropping daily. This forces me to question their seriousness. Do they really want to sell it or are they just waiting for it to collapse - which it must do eventually without intervention (and of which there is no sign) - so that the debris can be cleared away and the land built on? After all, why fight for planning permission to convert a listed building when you can just wait for it to fall down and build something in its place - problem solved!

So much for Grade II listing.

Written by Alistair Duncan
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1 comment:

  1. They are probably hoping someone will burn it down so they can move on.