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.