Sunderland student’s part in Sherlock Holmes campaign victory

Caitlin Wilson has helped save Arthur Conan Doyle's home.
Caitlin Wilson has helped save Arthur Conan Doyle's home.
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A STUDENT has played her part in helping to save a piece of England’s heritage.

The former home of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has been saved for the nation, after a high-profile campaign including University of Sunderland student, Caitlin Wilson.

Plans had been in place to redevelop Undershaw in Surrey, home of the Sherlock Holmes creator, but those plans have been stopped after a High Court ruling.

Caitlin, who is studying English and creative writing, is Sunderland’s ambassador for the Undershaw Preservation Society, which includes famous names such as Stephen Fry, BBC’s Sherlock creator Steven Moffat, and patron and Sherlock co-creator Mark Gattis.

In September 2010, Waverley Borough Council gave permission for owner Fossway Ltd to divide Grade II-listed Undershaw into eight separate homes, but after a judicial review the court ruled that because of legal flaws, the council’s decisions to grant planning permission and listed building consent must not be granted.

The plan now is to renovate the house and ideas are already being discussed for it to remain open and become a visitor centre for the public to celebrate the life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes character.

Caitlin said: “It’s fantastic news. I’m so happy. It means so much to me and the supporters of Undershaw and the author and all of his works. The plan is now hopefully to make the house a single dwelling and become a visitor centre to celebrate his life and make sure the legend lives on.

“Hopefully, it will bring more tourism to the area and it would have been an absolute travesty if we lost and deprived future generations of the Sherlock Holmes books.”

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective has enjoyed new popularity in recent years with the BBC TV series and two Guy Ritchie films.

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