Victorian Society objects to 'badly thought-through' demolition of Victorian Villa in conservation area

Victorian Society object to demolition of Victorian Villa to make way for new surgery in Beeston, Nottinghamshire.

Photo Credit: Lewis Stainer of Beeston Photography for Beeston and District Civic Society

The Victorian Society urges people to object to plans to demolish a Victorian villa which would be replaced by a new surgery. The new development in this prominent site would cause harm to Beeston's conservation areas. The inappropriateness of demolishing high-quality building stock in a climate emergency is also highlighted in the Society's objection.

Victorian Society Conservation Advisor Tom Taylor said: "The proposal to demolish Oban house is poorly justified and badly thought-through. There is no evidence that the applicants have seriously considered other options for the replacement of their surgery, or have even taken account of the impact that their proposals will have on either the historic or natural environment. The edges and corners of conservation areas are often particularly important in establishing their special character. Here, the developers propose destroying a handsome building in good condition which exemplifies the character of the conservation area in which it is so prominently sited, and to replace it with a new building of bland modern design, mediocre materials, and inappropriate scale."

The objection was quickly followed by Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities) pausing the demolition of M&S's Oxford Street Store including Orchard House (1929-30), this will allow for ministers to scrutinise the carbon cost of the Pilbrow & Partners’ redevelopment project.

In a climate emergency reusing, rather than demolishing, existing structures is critical. The carbon cost in demolishing an architecturally sound and usable building should not be ignored. No compelling argument has been made that the chosen site is the most appropriate or only viable option for the construction of the new medical facility. The current building could be sold and a new site found where development of the type proposed would be less harmful. There has been no explanation of why the site of the current surgery could not be developed to increase capacity.

Oban House occupies a prominent position opposite the Church of St John the Baptist (1842, 1876, Grade II) and marks the boundary between the ‘Beeston West End’ and ‘St John’s Grove’ conservation areas. Along with a pair of redbrick semi-detached villas, on Chilwell Road to the right, the building reflects Beeston’s solid Victorian middle-class suburban development.

The handsome detached villa has high-quality red brickwork and detailing in terracotta that contributes to Beeston’s character. Its loss would cause significant harm to the conservation area at a vulnerable spot. The historic relationship between church, churchyard and buildings on Chilwell Road remains strong and should be protected and enhanced.

Instead, the application for a new medical centre does nothing to justify the proposed loss of a heritage asset. The large quasi-commercial building with a glazed shop front is alien in mass, form, and materiality and would splinter the historic reading of the junction between the conservation areas. The Victorian Society is urging the public to object to the scheme, view the planning application here.

See the proposals for the new surgery here: New Build - The Manor Surgery

Sign the petition to prevent demolition here: Petition · Save Oban House from Demolition ·

Link to Beeston and District Civic Society's page: Save Oban House – Beeston + District Civic Society (


© 2017 The Victorian Society

1 Priory Gardens, London W4 1TT. T 020 8994 1019. E [email protected]

Charity No. 1081435. Company No. 3940996. Registered in England. Office as above.

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