Dereliction: Tripura House

20 02 2008

This, unfortunately, is how Cheltenham’s historic buildings are so often treated.


Photos taken January 2004

The former Tripura House Indian restaurant in Winchcombe Street has been derelict for a number of years. The restaurant closed some time ago, although it still has its tiled frontage, and the residential area above it is also abandoned.

Until the government takes action to curb the practice of “land-banking”, it’s all too profitable for investors to hang on to empty properties like this while the land accumulates in value. By leaving the buildings in an appalling state of neglect, their condition becomes uninhabitable and it gets easier to get permission to demolish them.

This once magnificent Regency townhouse is in Cheltenham’s conservation area, so permission to redevelop is not a quick and easy process. Fronted with Cotswold stone ashlar, the house is part of a terrace which dates back to the early 1820s. This is not a run-down area … it’s a prime town centre location, so when the house eventually becomes dangerously dilapidated and beyond repair someone will make a huge fat stinky packet replacing it with newbuild flats.

What is the point of having a conservation area when our heritage is squandered like this? With the housing crisis gathering pace, not to mention the sheer affrontery of treating a beautiful building with such contempt and subjecting the people of Cheltenham to the miserable sight of its rotting hulk, the insidious practice of land-banking should be taxed into oblivion and its perpetrators whipped through the streets and pelted with rotting cabbages.




7 responses

8 01 2009
David Galaxy

The Indian tiles on the front of this building fascinated me as a child, when I happily queued up for a film at the old ODEON cinema next door – now too sadly derelict.

17 10 2010
Helen Johnson

This is the place where I tasted my first chicken korma as a teenager. Thirty years later it’s still one of my favourite dishes. I managed to photograph the tiled picture back in 2001 – long before it was covered in scaffolding. It is a beautiful, vibrant image.

17 10 2010

I remember eating there in the late 80s … was quite a nice restaurant as I recall. Well done for getting a decent photograph … it is a lovely image, even if it’s a bit incongruous on a Regency building. I hope it survives.

17 10 2010
Helen Johnson

Winchcombe Street is blessed with some wonderful buildings, particularly The Odeon Cinema and Axiom centre. All three of these buildings have been left to deteriorate. Back in August I was photographing The Odeon, I happened to notice a sign on Tripura House saying the building had been put up for auction in July 2010. The Agents were Chesterton/Humberts Tayler & Fletcher. I’ve just looked on Chesterton’s website, but could find no information about the auction.

18 10 2010

That’s interesting – we’ll have to keep a look out to see what happens. My concern with the dereliction of the Odeon alongside Tripura House is that some greedy blighter might have a mind to buy up both together for some massive redevelopment – it is a really prime spot. Tripura House ought to be listed, given that it’s one of Cheltenham’s earliest Regency terraces and formed part of a ‘promenade’ to Pittville Park (somewhat thwarted by the one-way system now). But given its condition, it is probably vulnerable.

14 01 2011
Helen Johnson

I am looking for some information about the Bristol Street motors site in Winchcombe Street (now apartment blocks). I am interested in finding out about the Mission Hall and other buildings that used to be on the site. I would be grateful for any information. Thank you.

13 10 2012
Danny Porkcake

I remember going for a curry here when I was a kid, I think it had a basement seating area to? Having moved back to ‘nam after living in Herefordshire for about 10 years its really sad to see how many ugly new-build soul-less places have sprung up. Yes these ‘developers’ and the council must have the dollar signs in their eyes and no doubt, plenty of brown envelopes going about. Great website though, interesting reading.

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