Devotees of G.K. Chesterton are celebrating the news that Beaconsfield planning authorities have rejected plans to demolish the acclaimed Catholic writer and philosopher’s former home, Overroads.
Just before Christmas, developers lodged two applications with the local council to knock the historic property down and put up an apartment block. Now, as of Jan. 31, both applications have been rejected.
Among the reasons cited for the decision rejecting the proposed development, planning authorities cited both aesthetic and historical reasons, noting that the proposed development “would not be compatible with the character of the area and would be inappropriate in its context” and that the proposal “does not have regard or respect for the character of the area.” Furthermore, the planning authorities said “the proposed building would also adversely impact upon the setting of the Grade II [of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it] listed property Top Meadow, which lies opposite. The proposal would also result in the total loss of the existing dwelling, which is considered a non-designated heritage asset.”
At St. Teresa’s Church Beaconsfield, where the Chestertons were parishioners, the current parish priest, Msgr. Sean Healey, told the Register, “I am delighted to hear that the planning application has been turned down. I hope that this will now signal an acceptance by local government and by the people of Beaconsfield that Overroads is an integral part in the story of Gilbert and Frances Chesterton living in the town.”
Canon John Udris, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Northampton, carried out the preliminary investigation into Chesterton’s cause for canonization. On hearing of the plans to demolish Overroads, which is located in the Northampton Diocese, he had told the Register, “Whether or not we win, the fight is worth it.” On hearing that these plans had been rejected, he said, “I’m thrilled to bits at this latest news. Very well done to all who got involved!”
Speaking for Britain’s Chestertonians, Stuart McCullough, president of the London-based Catholic G.K. Chesterton Society, told the Register, “It is great news that Overroads is not to be demolished at this time; it shows the level of support that G.K. Chesterton still has all over the world. It also shows that saying the ‘GKC Prayer Card’ gets results, as many of us have been saying the prayer for the intention of saving Overroads.” He added, “It is important that this great historic building is now listed in some way to save this landmark for future generations.”
Read more at National Catholic Register