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HELP SAVE HISTORIC WELLS COTTAGE FROM DEMOLITION
 
Wells Cottage is considered by many to be one of the most attractive historic buildings in Thames Ditton, situated towards the end of Ashley Road where it converges with Church Walk. It was sold following the death of its former owner who lived there for 56 years. The new owners are planning to demolish Wells Cottage and erect a property which many believe to be wholly inappropriate in design and scale.
 Wells Cottage If you believe that Wells Cottage should be saved, please write with your objection to App: 2015/2975 on the Elmbridge website (planning applications online).
 
Wells Cottage is an extremely significant unlisted historic building which many believe makes a positive contribution to the character of Thames Ditton, and should be regarded as a non-designated heritage asset. Evidence suggests that the house dates from before 1800, possibly as early as 1750, predating the building of Ashley Road by over 100 years.
 
Research by our local historian indicates that Wells Cottage was originally the home of Joseph Wells, a market gardener who acquired fifteen acres of ground in the immediate vicinity of the cottage, in the very heart of Thames Ditton village. Descending to his great-nephew of the same name, it continued to play a major role in the burgeoning market garden sector which in the 19th century increasingly characterised the village. Edward Walford in his "Greater London: a narrative of its history, its people, and its places" (1894) wrote of Thames Ditton that "much of the land in the parish is cultivated as market gardens".
 
Wells Cottage is the sole and last remaining tangible link with that significant part of Thames Ditton’s local heritage, which objectors argue that the present proposal, if approved, would destroy. EBC’s Conservation Area Leaflet states that within Conservation Areas:
 
There is a general presumption against demolition but this does not mean that buildings may not be demolished, rather it provides a check to ensure that those buildings which make an important contribution to the character of the area are not lost without proper justification.
 
The general feeling amongst objectors is that Wells Cottage makes an important contribution to the character of the Thames Ditton Conservation Area and demolition would be against the Elmbridge stated policy.
 
Apart from this, the proposed development within application 2015/2975 is, according to objectors, unacceptable as it is out of character with anything in the surrounding area. It represents an over development of the site and proposes many alien features, in a very sensitive position towards the end of Ashley Road, where it converges with Church Walk.
 
The latest Conservation Area leaflet states that within Conservation Areas:
 
All planning applications for new buildings, extensions or alterations to existing buildings within conservation areas or within the setting of such areas will be carefully considered to ensure that they harmonise with and reinforce the architectural and historic character of the particular area. The Council will insist on a higher standard of design than might be required elsewhere.
 
and
 
The Council will insist on a higher standard of design than might be required elsewhere, in line with government guidance. Special attention will be paid to scale, height, form, massing, respect for the traditional pattern of frontages and detailed design of development, including the choice of materials.
 
Objectors believe that the proposed development fails to meet these tests in virtually every way.
 
To conclude, objectors believe that both the proposal to demolish Wells Cottage, and the design and scale of the proposed replacement property, fail to ‘preserve and enhance’ the Thames Ditton Conservation Area and should be rejected. 
 
If you agree that Wells Cottage should be saved from destruction and continue to be enjoyed for the heritage asset it is then please write with your personal objection to App 2015/2975 as soon as possible. The closing date for objections is 11 September 2015.