Residents in Stoke are both sad and angry to see the Old School House on the corner of Old Farm Road being demolished; it is another piece of historic Bellfields gone. The building had a strong connection with the Paynter Family at Stoke Hill and her Son in Law, Treeby, who lived in Willow Grange. It is being replaced by an ugly block of apartments, no doubt not very affordable and completely out of keeping with its surroundings. Bellfields was the showpiece social housing estate in the South East but is rapidly becoming ruined by inappropriate development. As it seems that Guildford’s Planning laws have been unable to save this historic part of our borough, Guildford Labour feel the time has come to form a new conservation area around Bellfields to help protect its unique heritage.
Anne Rouse, Guildford Labour’s prospective candidate for the area in next year’s County Council elections said: “So sad to learn of the depressing news that the wrecking ball has started work on one of the oldest buildings in the Stoke area of Guildford: the Old School House on Woking Road. A beautiful building that has graced the area for nearly 150 years, which despite herculean efforts by Labour councillor Angela Gunning, could not be saved at the planning meeting at GBC earlier this year. Such a shame that support could not be found from others. Where were the Guildford Society, and why did they not launch a campaign to save this fine building? On old maps from 100 and more years ago, it is one of the few buildings in the area, at a time when much of Bellfields consisted of farms. Unfortunately, another part of Guildford’s history is being lost before our very eyes. We must look to the future now and ensure that safeguards are put in place so that any more historic buildings are not lost to the town.”