Walton Court and former headquarters of Birds Eye organisation
Elmbridge Borough Council’s planning committee decided on 30 July to allow the demolition of the grade II listed office block known as Walton Court and the former headquarters of the Birds Eye organisation, and has granted planning permission for the residential development of the site. The building has stood empty for a very long time.
A Historic England spokesman said:
“We carefully explored all possible avenues to find a future for the listed office block and the former Birds Eye building through conversion to a new use. We concluded that a case might be made to permit the loss of this grade II listed building. We initially objected to the loss of the building as we did not think that a clear and convincing case had been demonstrated. However, after close scrutiny of the case to explore the challenges of re-using the building and the viability of converting it to residential use, we concluded that it was not certain that a rescue project could be viable.
When deciding the case, Elmbridge Borough Council did not consider it on the building’s viability but instead on planning policy that demolition of the building might be necessary in order to achieve substantial public benefits. On this basis we withdrew our objection. The permitted demolition of a listed building is a very rare event and we do not think this case sets a precedent.”