Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Devils Punchbowl Hotel

A meeting with a certain charity took place yesterday at the Devils Punchbowl Hotel, pictured above, to discuss their possible uses for Undershaw.

I took them down to the site of Undershaw in the pouring rain to see a bedraggled building. Rain was pouring from its gutters, windows boarded up, some were smashed and some were open allowing the rain to pour in. Overall our building was in a sorrowful state, which saddened me through and through. We had been assured by Waverley Borough Council that all efforts of security and repairs had been adhered too. It was obvious that no security personnel were present and we were free to roam the site. A Repair Notice was served on the current owners of this grade II listed building over a year ago. With the building still requiring the owners to take action on its state, it is now time for Waverley Borough Council to consider serving a Compulsory Purchase Order on the owner to prevent Undershaw from becoming less desirable to the likes of people that really care. How can the current owners do this to a building that is cloaked in so much history. It appears to me that they are just leaving it to slowly rot so that it is beyond repair and the council will have no option but to allow their plans to go through. The charity concerned thought the price the owners might be looking for would probably be too high for them. They thought the building had a very strong pulling power which gave them food for thought on departing.

I returned with my colleague to the Devils Punchbowl Hotel to dry off and to chat about our hopes and fears for Undershaw over a coffee. In doing this the new proprieter's of the Devils Punchbowl Hotel, Sonia and Fiyaz Rehman expressed their support for the building and very kindly accepted to publicise our campaign within their hotel, allowing brochures, cards and fliers to be placed in the hotel reception area, bar, and bedrooms.

The hotel, being contempory to Undershaw has been the venue for several of our awareness days and we look forward to scheduling our next event there. This will hopefully be the visit by the BBC once they have confirmed their rescheduled date.

The rates at the hotel are very competitive and range from £45.00 per night B&B for a double room. I can fully recommend the hotel, the atmosphere, entertainment, surroundings and good service all form part of the delight in staying there and once the busy A3 closes it will also provide a more peaceful setting.

Although all their guests receive a very warm reception an extra welcome will be made to those supporting the Undershaw Preservation Trust. You may even wish to take a step back in time and take a stroll down to Undershaw to marvel at the building where Conan Doyle penned 'The Hound of the Baskervilles'. You will see for yourself what a disgrace it is that the owners and council have allowed this building of history to become so neglected. The Undershaw Preservation Trust are keen to see the building restored to its former glory and opened to the public as a Museum and cafeteria.

The Trust would like to thank Sonia and Fiyaz (all the way from Spain) for their help to save Undershaw for the community. Their understanding to the cause has created a new boost to the campaign.

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