New hope for important house

OWNERS of a house hailed as being ahead of its time when built half a century ago have been refused permission to demolish it - but not because of its architectural merit.

OWNERS of a house hailed as being ahead of its time when built half a century ago have been refused permission to demolish it - but not because of its architectural merit.

Planners are more concerned about the large house to be built on the small site and the loss of surrounding trees.

They fear allowing the site of Shollond Hill, in Levington Road, Nacton, to be developed will eventually lead to all its trees being lopped or felled, ruining the site.

Owners Bermac Properties have lodged an appeal against the refusal and the matter could go to an inquiry.

Shollond Hill was the epitome of fashion when it was built in 1955.

Its open-plan living, huge floor to roof glass windows, and modern appliances, fixtures and fittings were very different from traditional style homes at a time when Pop Art was emerging and architecture was taking great strides.

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It was designed and built by Douglas Harding, the famous writer and philosopher.

His widow Catherine Harding lived there until last year and still lives nearby in a house called Under Shollond. The property though was left by Mr Harding to his ex-wife and his son.

Bermac Properties, of Chelmsford, say it is “beyond saving” and surrounding trees have upset the foundations and there are cracks running through the house.

They want to replace it with a new house, outbuildings and a swimming-pool.

Head of planning services at Suffolk Coastal Philip Ridley said the house would be far bigger than Shollond Hill and will mean the removal of a number of mature protected trees and could upset protected species and habitat.

Because of its height and size, the proposed building would be highly visible in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and detract from the setting of Orwell Park's historic parkland.

Suffolk Preservation Society (SPS) objected to the demolition proposal and wanted the council to apply for the building to be listed and save it.

Mr Harding died last year aged 98 and was known internationally for his reflections on life, especially his philosophical thinking called The Headless Way.

Is Shollond Hill worth keeping? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk