Endcliffe Conservation Area, which was created in 1976, contains some ‘mighty fine’ houses, as our American cousins would say. It’s characterised by ‘large dwellings set in extensive grounds with wide frontages’. The downside of these extensive grounds is that it creates the temptation to develop them and this seems to be happening rather a lot in Fulwood and Ranmoor as well as in Endcliffe. Endcliffe Grove Avenue is only a short road, but such was the ‘poshness’ of these houses in Edwardian times that No.6 actually had its own tennis court. Some time ago the owners of No 4 bought No.6’s tennis court to prevent it being developed and no doubt local residents breathed a sigh of relief. However, no one knows what’s around the corner in life and the owners of No 4 decided to move on. The new owners obviously inherited the plot and subsequently plans have been submitted to develop the site. Proof of the old maxim in life – always expect the unexpected.
Strangely enough, a similar scenario is being played out in a Conservation Area in the London Borough of Chiswick. Here, TV celebrity Jamie Theakston is currently having a running battle with his neighbour Michael Attenborough (son of the late Sir Richard). After the council rejected his plans to build a gym and indoor pool where his Victorian coach-house now stands, he has decided to build a 4 bedroomed house at the bottom of his 120ft garden immediately adjacent to Mr. Attenborough. The whole street is up in arms about this and Mr. A is threatening to leave after being there for 30 years. To make matters worse the new-build is a virtual clone of the Attenborough’s house and as Mr. T’s house is currently valued at £6.5m it makes you wonder why he wants another one.
Back to reality in Sheffield, 3 separate schemes have been approved in the last 10 years, and all were perfectly acceptable and in a (fake) Arts and Crafts style which is in keeping with this part of the city. They featured stonework, timber boarding and red tiles which tick all the boxes. However the latest scheme is in red brick with aluminium windows and whilst the contours of the house are vaguely Edwardian – there it ends. It would be longer, wider, taller, out of character and out of proportion to the size of the plot, but still the smallest and narrowest building on the street, if that makes sense. The Conservation Advisory Group didn’t think much of the scheme either and thought that the constituent details did not match that of the neighbouring buildings. They also felt that the steep pitch of the gable was discordant and if you take a look at the drawings you’ll see what they mean. Their comments were rounded off with a factual statement that the development did not preserve or enhance the Conservation Area.
There have been foundation problems around here and in 2006/7 No.5 was built in the garden of No.7 in a similar development. Deep digging was found to be necessary and if there is a similar problem here there is danger of a threat to the roots of an established line of lime trees. A proposed new driveway into the site will also involve removing a rather nice holly tree plus one of the street limes. The ironic thing is that this tree was recommended for removal in 2007 at the time of the first planning application as it was infected with Bleeding Canker (micro-organism Phytophthora) which sounds a nasty thing to get. The Highways Dept refused to remove it with the consequence that more street trees in this stretch have now been infected. Sounds like just the job for Amey!