As regular readers will know, the UPT and John Gibson have repeatedly tried to get English Heritage to raise Undershaw's listing from Grade II to Grade II* or Grade I. EH has refused to do so suggesting that the house was not special or rare enough to warrant an increase in listing protection.
EH has now lodged a formal objection to the development plans put forward for Undershaw by the DFN Foundation.
Part of their objection letter runs as follows:
"Undershaw is of greater heritage significance than its current Grade II listing suggests because it is the only place that gives us a detailed insight into how Arthur Conan Doyle - one of the UK's great literary figures - and his family lived during the zenith of his career."Excuse me? This from the very organisation that has steadfastly refused to raise the listing despite being told of its literary significance. I'm fairly sure they also said that Conan Doyle was not of the same standing as Dickens or Austen and therefore his house did not deserve a better listing. Now they call him "one of the UK's great literary figures".
These plans would not even be on the table if EH had raised the listing in the first place.
UPDATE - There is also something in the letter that is very hard not to interpret as a threat:
This sounds very much like a threat to remove the current listing (and with it its limited protection) if EH's objections are not listened to. The word bully leaps to mind.
View their letter at http://plandocs.waverley.gov.uk/Planning/lg/GFPlanningDocuments.page?Param=lg.Planning&org.apache.shale.dialog.DIALOG_NAME=gfplanningsearch&viewdocs=true&SDescription=WA/2014/1655
On the menu that this takes you to - click "English Heritage"
Written by Alistair Duncan