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Holmes house won't be re-developed

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle lived at Undershaw from 1897 to 1907 Credit: The Victorian Society

The company that owns the Victorian house in Surrey - where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles - has suffered a fresh setback in its legal battle to redevelop the historic property. Fossway Ltd wanted to divide grade II-listed Undershaw into eight separate homes.

In May the High Court ruled that the Fossway plan, which was approved by Waverley Borough Council, was legally flawed and must be quashed. The developer appealed. But Lord Justice Pitchford upheld the High Court ruling and refused Fossway permission to take the case to a full appeal hearing.

The building, at Hindhead crossroads near Haslemere, was built in 1897. Used as a hotel since the 1920s, it was left empty in 2005 and fell into disrepair. There was strong public support for preserving Undershaw, where the author completed 13 Sherlock Holmes stories from 1897 to 1907.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his first Sherlock Holmes whilst working as a GP in Southsea Credit: PA


Undershaw saved

The house in which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote "the Hounds of the Baskervilles" cannot be turned into separate flats. Developers hoped to turn "Undershaw" near Hindhead in Surrey into new homes. The property has stood empty for 6 years.

But the Royal Courts of Justice, says that Waverley Borough Council's decision to grant planning permission for nine separate homes at Undershaw should be quashed because of flaws in the planning consultation process.

We've been campaigning to save Undershaw since 2006. As the house commissioned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for his own family’s occupation Undershaw has international significance. It was at Undershaw that Doyle wrote his most famous work.'

– Dr Ian Dungavell, Director of the Victorian Society

The house that resurrected Sherlock

Campaigners fighting to save the home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle from being turned into flats will take their case to the High Court today.

In 2010, we visited Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's former home in Surrey. It was built as a retreat for him and his first wife, who was unwell. We spoke to his nephew, Richard Doyle and to Lynn Gale from the Undershaw Preservation Trust.