SAVE salutes designation of Sutton Estate conservation area

The Sutton Estate in Chelsea, London (images: Ian Henderson)


1 August 2019

SAVE Britain's Heritage is delighted that the Sutton Estate, a handsome Edwardian housing development in central London has been designated as conservation area by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea – rightly celebrating the architectural and historical
significance of the buildings to the borough.

Only a year ago, the redbrick estate built in 1908, had been under threat from demolition. In 2015, the developer put forward highly controversial proposals to demolish the historic estate and rebuild it. The proposals were refused by Kensington and Chelsea in December 2016, appealed by the developer in summer 2017. The appeal was dismissed in December 2018.

Following the dismissal of the appeal, Kensington and Chelsea voted to designate the estate as a new Conservation Area. The conservation area appraisal states that “these early examples of planned social housing retain a high degree of architectural, social and historical significance for Chelsea and the Borough as whole and therefore are worthy of Conservation Area designation.” It continues to highlight the “strong sense of rhythm and uniformity to their design which harmonises with the surrounding architecture”. You can read the conservation area appraisal here.

Then in June 2019, Clarion Housing announced its decision to reverse the demolition plans, carry out improvements and bring the empty properties back into use.

Ian Henderson, a local resident, said: “I am delighted with the decision not to demolish these wonderful buildings and that we can preserve the legacy of William Sutton for future generations. We would like to thank Save Britain's Heritage and The Victorian Society for their support in protecting these buildings and our community.”

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, said: “This is fantastic news and we congratulate the Royal Borough for their decision to designate this important chapter of London’s social history – and a beautiful piece of architecture – a conservation area.”

SAVE Britain's Heritage supported the local campaign groups in their campaign to save the estate and made representations to the Planning Inspectorate in March 2018 against the demolition plans.

Designed by architect E.C.P Monson for the philanthropist William Richard Sutton, the estate covering 4.5 acres was built as social housing, the 14 red brick buildings house over 2000 people. The conservation area appraisal says: “Both estates are relatively early examples of large scale social housing and due to their scale and uniformity are impressive.”


Note to editors
1. For more information and images contact SAVE Britain's Heritage 
2. SAVE Britain’s Heritage has been campaigning for historic buildings since its formation in 1975 by a group of architectural historians, writers, journalists and planners. It is a strong, independent voice in conservation, free to respond rapidly to emergencies and to speak out loud for the historic built environment.