School plan go ahead for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle house

Undershaw Image copyright bbc
Image caption Conan Doyle wrote The Return of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles at Undershaw

Plans to turn Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's former home into a school for children with disabilities have been approved.

Waverley council passed the plans by the DFN Foundation to change the use of Undershaw, in Hindhead, Surrey, on Wednesday night.

Conan Doyle wrote The Return of Sherlock Holmes and The Hound of the Baskervilles at the property.

Campaigners have objected on the basis the plans will be followed by proposals for "a massive extension".

John Gibson, founder of the Undershaw Preservation Trust, claimed future proposals would include extending the building and "ripping out" Conan Doyle's stables and well.

He has fought a long-running campaign to highlight the building's literary connections, including Dracula author Bram Stoker.

Papers submitted to the planning committee said the plans would see the Grade II listed building, formerly used as a hotel, become an upper school for the nearby Stepping Stones School.

Image caption Conan Doyle wrote The Hound of the Baskervilles at Undershaw, in Surrey. It was made into a 1968 BBC film starring Nigel Stock as Dr Watson and Peter Cushing as Sherlock Holmes

Archway feature

Conan Doyle's former study would be the head teacher's office and restored to how it looked in the author's time.

The ground floor would be offices and a computer room.

On the first floor, four bedrooms would be classrooms with Conan Doyle's wife's bedroom used as the library to keep the archway feature.

The plans would see the coach house become caretaker accommodation and the garage and stable area would be used for storage.

English Heritage has supported the proposal but has recommended the council check whether alterations or extensions will harm the building's significance.

The DFN Foundation has not commented.

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