Planning permission granted: South Drive to be destroyed

ImageSouth Drive is to be levelled and up to 120 new houses are to be built on a new road layout; with no regard to alternative proposals, to the history of the site or to the wishes of existing residents. Link to decision.



8 responses to “Planning permission granted: South Drive to be destroyed

  1. Charlotte Horne

    Hello, I have recently moved to North Drive and love the houses in South Drive. I have been doing a bit of research and has anyone looked into getting the houses listed? I feel they meet the criteria and would love to make a application for this to happen but have little knowledge of the history of the buildings to help my case. I am therefore looking for help to save these beautiful buildings and their history. If you would like to help please get in contact.

    • Thanks Charlotte,

      The South Drive houses were built by government contractor John Laing in 1936, at the same time as the North Drive houses. They were used as accomodation for RAF officers, whereas our North Drive houses were married quarters for lower ranks. This class-distinction persisted after the war when AEA took over the site, with South Drive being used to house ‘banded officers’. Number 8 South Drive – the largest house – was lived in by Harwell’s first director, Sir John Cockroft. It is because this house sat in Harwell parish – as opposed to Hendred or Chilton parishes – that Cockroft decreed the site should be called ‘AERE Harwell’.

      Some of us looked into the possibility of getting the houses listed a few years ago – I can’t remember now why we didn’t pursue it.

      • Charlotte Horne

        Buildings built after 1945 will only be considered for listing if they are in danger of being demolished, so they probably wouldn’t have qualified a few years ago. I will do a bit more research over the weekend and try to get an application together. Hopefully we will be able to save them.

  2. My late husband, two young daughters and I once spent a weekend with Ellis and Margaret Wiblin who lived in South Drive. That was in 1957 after we had moved to Malvern from Harwell. I just remember it was a lovely, spacious and perfect family house and it seems just dreadful to demolish such nice homes.

    • Richard Parkes

      Yes I too knew the Wiblin’s, or should I say the daughter Juliet Wiblin. This was in 1969. Those houses were indeed lovely.

  3. My name is Susan Jaggard (Hill) and I lived in South Drive from 1949 – 1970. I had a fantastic childhood there. We lived in 8A – the top part of number 8, the house was divided – the director lived in number 1. Then in 1958 we moved to 10 and a few years after I left my parents moved to 3. My best friend Norah London lived in number 9. The houses were wonderful. We went back n 2007 and looked at them, and were sad to see that they were not being looked after and several were boarded up. What a waste.

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