Hampshire & Isle of Wight

New plan to demolish Lyndhurst 'Conan Doyle' hotel

Lyndhurst Park Hotel
Image caption The former hotel building has been unused since 2014

New plans have been submitted to demolish an old hotel that historians say was partly designed by Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Victorian Society said it was supporting an effort to list the former Lyndhurst Park Hotel in Hampshire after the Conan Doyle link was unearthed.

Developer PegasusLife has reapplied to build more than 70 retirement flats on the site instead.

It said the building had only "minor significance" to local heritage.

The firm has added 15 "affordable homes" to plans which were rejected by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) in February.

More than 240 objections were received during the initial consultation, many calling for affordable housing.

Image copyright Brice Stratford
Image caption Archive drawings appear to show plans for the building which became a hotel in the 1920s

The hotel building was originally built as a private mansion house - Glasshayes House - in the early 19th Century.

New Forest historian Brice Stratford said Conan Doyle, who although never worked in architecture had a hand in designing elements of several buildings, sketched plans for a new facade and a third-floor extension to the hotel in 1912.

These are thought to be the last surviving examples of his architectural work.

The Victorian Society conservation group has backed his application to Historic England to list the building to prevent it from being turned into a "run-of-the-mill block of flats".

Dr Caroline Wilkins, of the Friends of Glasshayes House group, said the apparent link to Conan Doyle was "hugely significant".

"The [residential development] design is awful and inappropriate and it will have an impact socially with 150 elderly people using medical facilities in the village. There's nothing good about it" she added.

Following the initial planning decision, the group posted pictures appearing to show vandalism inside the building, including to a Victorian stained glass window.

PegasusLife's new planning application said the development was "a sensitively designed scheme that enhances the character" of the area.

The NPA said it would be asking the developer to update the heritage assessment in its new planning application.

Image copyright Friends of Glasshayes House
Image caption The campaign group published photographs of damage caused to the stained glass window
Image copyright PegasusLife
Image caption The initial development plan would have seen 74 homes for elderly people as well as 12 holiday lets

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