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10:02am Thursday 19th July 2012 in Letters
Sir – Further to the local concern about the proposals to redevelop 85 Cumnor Hill (Cumnor Hill residents in fight to stop new housing, Report, July 5), there is even more to its historic significance.
An analysis of the RIBA catalogue of Clough Williams-Ellis’s works suggests that he had more new-build domestic commissions in and around Cumnor than anywhere else (except Portmeirion). They span his formative years as an architect and include 83 Cumnor Hill as well as No 85, reflecting a network of clients with university, artistic and musical interests. Apart from any wildlife value, the grounds of No 85 are also part of its historic interest with a clear three-section axis formed by intimate garden avenues turning into a vista through the conifer plantation to afford views over the Thames Valley. It is also worth noting that Clough Williams-Ellis was a fierce critic of tasteless suburbanisation and a foremost advocate of ‘design in context’ and respect of ‘sense of place’ long before they became part of modern ideas of sustainability.
In this context, his work on Cumnor Hill has added interest given the character of subsequent housing development in the area — some parts better than others.
George Lambrick , Boars Hill