24 May 2012

Fight to save Conan Doyle house

7:24 am on 24 May 2012

A legal attempt is being made to save the building where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote one of his most famous Sherlock Holmes stories, The Hound Of The Baskervilles.

A High Court judge has been told that Undershaw, a Victorian house located in a four-acre site in Surrey, England, is facing demolition and conversion.

The Undershaw Preservation Trust is asking the court to quash a borough council decision to allow the building to be divided into eight separate homes.

Conan Doyle designed Undershaw and lived there from 1897 - 1907, completing 13 Sherlock Holmes stories in that time.

Waverley Council issued notices in September 2010 allowing owner Fossway Ltd permission to redevelop the property.

It had been used as a hotel since the 1920s before being left empty in 2005 and falling into disrepair.

Paul Stinchcombe QC, representing trust founder John Gibson, said there were 1360 objections to the Fossway proposals.

They included Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt, author Julian Barnes, who set a novel Arthur And George in Undershaw; writer Ian Rankin and writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry.