V852 – Col Devereux’s planning applications for the conversion of Holly Hill to Research Laboratories(1)

In late 1945 or early 1946 Col Devereux acquired land and buildings in Stoke Poges as a permanent home for Fulmer Research Institute.  He needed to convert the residential property “Holly Hill” on what was then Uxbridge Road (since renamed Hollybush Hill) into laboratories and he submitted planning applications to the local authority, which was then Eton Rural District Council.  We do not have the applications themselves though we do have copies of some of the accompanying plans.

This article contains transcripts from the minutes of the planning authority as they considered the applications and photographs of some of the plans accompanying the applications.

Meeting 15th November 1945

Col. W.C. Devereux
Application No.348
Received 30th October.

That a decision on this Application for proposed use of “Ho11y Hill”, Stoke Poges as Research Laboratories be deferred until the next Meeting for further information to be obtained.

 

Meeting 13th December 1945

Col. W.C. Devereux
Application No.348
Received 30th October.

That Permission for Col. W.C. Devereux’s proposed use of “Ho11y Hill”, Stoke Poges as Research Laboratory as indicated on the plan accompanying his Application be granted on the following conditions:-

1. That further details and particulars of the proposed development shall be submitted and approved by the Council in due course.

2. That no external alterations or additions should be carried out to the existing buildings except by consent of the Council.

3. That no research, experiment or other activity likely to cause offensive smell or excessive noise in the neighbourhood shall becarried on within the permitted development.

4. That the gardens and grounds of the permitted development shall be maintained to the reasonable satisfaction of the Council.

5. That no growing tree of a height of more than 20 feet or having a trunk girth of more than 2 feet at a height of 5 feet above the ground shall be lopped, topped or destroyed, without the consent of the Council except where the tree has become dangerous

6. That the development shall be substantially completed within three years from the date of the issue of the Permission.

The reason for imposing such conditions being to ensure that the proposed development shall comply with the Planning Scheme now in course of preparation, and to preserve the amenities of the locality.

In connection with this Application, a letter dated 28th ultimo, was read from Mr.C.C.Griffith of Stoke Lodge, Stoke Poges stating that he understands there is a possibility that this property may be let for industrial purposes and as a resident within 100 yards thereof, he wishes to object to the development and to be informed if there are any other steps he can take to ensure his objection being put in the right quarter, and it was left to the Clerk to reply suitably to the letter.

 

Meeting 13th December 1945

Restriction on conversion of existing housing accommodation to
non-residential purposes. Holly Hill, Uxbridge Road, Stoke Poges.

A letter, dated 21 ultimo, was read from Mr. A.L.Abbott, Architect to Col. W.C. Devereux, asking for the Council’s consent to the use of this property for the purpose of a Research Institute, and stating that (1) the scope of the work to be carried out in the building will be fundamental research and research testing and the establshment of process testing procedure of non-ferrous metals.(2) the establishment of a research Library and consultant facilities (3) the portion of the living premises at present occupied and it is not in the interests of his client to change the present rural and residential character of the building.

A Memo, dated 8th instant, was read from the Deputy Surveyor reporting on his examination of the premises. and stating that the cost of adapting the house for reasonably separate use by families would result in an uneconomic expenditure of labour and material, bearing in mind the structural difficulties, the initial cost, the probable rents, and subsequent reinstatement, and that he has ascertained that five rooms in “Holly Lodge” will continue to be used for housing accommodation as will also the cottages adjacent to the Lodge, accommodation over the stables and Orchard Cottage.

The Clerk drew attention to the Planning Application No 348 in respect of the property earlier dealt with at this meeting by the Committee and the conditions then decided to be imposed in the Permission granted, and it was resolved on the proposal of Mr. Dutton, seconded by Mr. Davis, that the consent of the Council under Defence Regulation 68 CA(2) be given.

 

Thus planning permission was granted on 13 December 1945 for the change of use of the house “Holly Hill” to Research Laboratories, subject to certain conditions.

The application had been accompanied by a set of plans.  Figure 1 is the estate agent’s plan of the location of Holly Hill.  It shows three areas South of Uxbridge Road, outlined in red.  The westernmost of these was the site of the Holly Hill house which became Fulmer Research Institute.  Presumably the other two areas were part of the same offer for sale.  We don’t know whether they were part of Col Devereux’s purchase but it seems unlikely; neither of them became associated with FRI.

Figure 1 Location (Z074-05)

Figures 2-5 show four more plans.  These are architects drawings dated 17 October 1945 showing the three floors and the cellars of the existing house “Holly Hill” before the conversion.

Figure 2 Ground Floor (Z074-02)

 

Figure 3 First Floor (Z074-03)

 

Figure 4 Second Floor (Z074-04)

 

Figure 5 Cellars (Z074-06)

Meeting 14th March 1946

Almin Ltd. Plan No. 10577

That Permission for Almin Ltd’s proposed alterations and additions and sewage disposal plant, “Holly Hill” Uxbridge Road, Stoke Poges, as shown in Plan No. 10577 be granted on the following conditions:—

(a) That no further external alterations or additions shall be carried out to the existing buildings except by consent of the Council.

(b) That no research, experiment or other activity likely to cause offensive smell or excessive noise in the neighbourhood shall be carried on within the permitted development.

(c) That the gardens and grounds of the permitted development shall be maintained to the reasonable satisfaction of the Council.

(d) That no growing tree of a height of more than 20ft. or having a trunk girth of more than 2ft. at a height of 5ft. above the ground shall be lopped, topped or destroyed, without the consent of the Council except where the tree has become dangerous

(e) That the permitted development shall be substantially completed within 3 years from the date of the issue of the Permission, the reason for imposing such conditions being to ensure that the proposed development shall comply with the Planning Scheme now in course of preparation.

 

In this second application, what were the proposed alterations and extensions?  It seems probable that these included the re-glazing of the south wall of what became the Board Room (using aluminium framed windows and door) and the single story extension at the east end of the building to accommodate the general office.

Notes

(1) This article is a commentary on document V824 and images Z074-02 to Z074-06 in the Archive

(2) This was a wartime statutory regulation prohibiting change of use of a dwelling house to non-residential purposes except with the permission of the local authority.