Friday, 5 March 2010
The toll of dereliction, decay and demolition affecting Welsh country houses is grimly laid bare in compendia such as Lost Houses of Wales by Tom Lloyd and Forgotten Welsh Houses by Michael Tree and Mark Baker. The problems are very definitely still with us, as evidenced by a current application to demolish this small country house in Llansteffan, Carmarthenshire and replace it with a block of flats. The building dates from 1810, incorporating earlier fabric, and surprisingly is unlisted. It has been badly neglected and mucked about (for example by the insertion of plastic windows in the front elevation) and so, yes, it looks a mess, but that is hardly the fault of the building. In fact it makes a strong contribution to the character of the conservation area, it retains charming interior features (as shown here) and it occupies a delightful seafront site. As at Hamlet Court on the Isle of Wight, this latter point adds to its vulnerability, as developers scent value in greater housing density. But there is a big difference between picturesquely commanding a scenic site, and thus adding to it, and exploiting the site parasitically.