Banstead Hospital and the emergence of Belmont
The village of Belmont strongly owed its development to the presence of Banstead asylum. Although located in the parish of Banstead, the asylum was much closer to the village and railway station of Belmont than those of Banstead. Originally known as Banstead Asylum, the hospital opened in 1877 and around 1890 it came under the auspices of London County Council. Later a psychiatric hospital under the name Banstead Mental Hospital, then Banstead Hospital, it closed in 1986 and was largely demolished in 1989. The site is now occupied by the prison High Down (HM Prison).
Belmont Hospital and the South Metropolitan District School
Belmont Hospital was a psychiatric hospital. It closed and was demolished in the 1980s. The site is now occupied by the 'Belmont Heights' housing development, which is situated to the west of Brighton Road, to the north of Belmont village. Belmont Hospital opened after the Second World War. The premises had previously fulfilled a number of different institutional purposes. For example, during World War II it was used as an emergency hospital for military and civilian casualties, including psychiatric cases. The oldest buildings on the site, built in the early 1850s, had originally been a large residential 'district' school belonging to the South Metropolitan Schools District. Along with its nearby annex site, built in 1884 in Cotswold Road (formerly Banstead Road), this establishment closed in 1902. The premises at both sites were then acquired by the Metropolitan Asylums Board. Some of the buildings of the Cotswold Road site still exist.
The Institute of Cancer Research is a public research institute and university located on two London sites and specialises in oncology. It was founded in 1909 as a research department of the Royal Marsden Hospital. It established its Belmont, Sutton campus site in 1956 and joined the University of London in 2003.
The Royal Marsden Hospital is a specialist cancer treatment hospital. It is an NHS Foundation Trust and operates facilities on two sites, including one in Belmont, Sutton. The original buildings on the site were first used as the Banstead Road branch of the South Metropolitan District School, which was a 'district' school for children in south London. In the 1890s, girls were taught at the Banstead Road site and boys were taught at a site on Brighton Road, which was built in 1851. The Brighton Road site later became Belmont workhouse and Belmont Psychiatric hospital, before being demolished in the 1980s. The Banstead Road site later became a sanatorium, before the southern half of the site was acquired by the Royal Marsden Hospital in 1962.
In 1899, Sutton Cottage Hospital officially opened its doors to the public. At the time, the hospital housed just six beds, and operated from two semi-detached cottages in Bushy Road, Sutton. As the population of Sutton grew, so too did the hospital. In 1902, the hospital moved to a new site in Cotswold Road, which consisted of four small wards, an administrative block and contained a total of 12 beds. It was at this point that the hospital became known as Sutton Hospital.
In 1930, the hospital began the expansion process again, this time with a purpose-built clinic at the current site and in 1931, the new hospital was officially opened.
When the National Health Service (NHS) was implemented in 1948, the hospital was incorporated into the St Helier group and in 1990, further improvements were made and services expanded.
The majority of services at the Sutton Hospital site have now been transferred to either St Helier Hospital or Epsom hospital and the hospital will still be functional until September 2015.
Belmont did not exist until the late 19th-century. Belmont railway station opened in May 1865 and was originally called 'California Station', named after the California Arms public house on the opposite side of Brighton Road which was built by John Gibbons in approximately 1858. The station was renamed 'Belmont' in 1875, and the name was attached to the village that emerged subsequently. The original pub was heavily bomb damaged in the Second World War. The new building, built on the site in 1955, was known as 'The Belmont' which re-opened in 2015 following refurbishment with the name ‘The California’.
Since the early 1900s the heart of Belmont has moved from Brighton Road to Station Road. Station Road is home to around 25 retail outlets which form the majority of the Belmont Local Centre.
Belmont Village also includes the Queens Road / The Crescent Area of Special Local Character and the Kings Road (Belmont) Area of Special Local Character.
Cheam is a predominantly 1930s suburb but its history can be traced back to Saxon times. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book, when the area belonged to the monastery attached to Canterbury Cathedral.
The oldest surviving building is the Lumley Chapel, which dates from the 11th century and stands in the grounds of St Dunstan’s Church, named after an archbishop who was the cathedral’s most important saint until Thomas Becket was canonized, in 1173.
In the 16th century, ownership of the land passed to Henry VIII, who set about building a spectacular palace, Nonsuch Palace. Costing more than £24,000 – 50 per cent more than he spent on Hampton Court – it took nine years to build and was so-called because he wanted no other palace to equal it in magnificence.
He died just before its completion and after being passed down through several generations of royals, it was given by Charles II to his mistress Lady Castlemaine, who demolished it in 1682 and sold everything she could to pay substantial gambling debts.
No trace of the building is visible today, though sections of the boundary walls remain. However, the name lives on in Nonsuch Park, in the former grounds, and 18th century Tudor Gothic Nonsuch Mansion, built to echo the style of the palace.
The oldest structure in South Cheam is Cheam Warren. The area was once renowned for hunting and horse racing and the perimeter wall of the Hare Warren is one of the last surviving features. The wall now forms the boundaries of houses in Warren Avenue, Wilbury Avenue and Onslow Avenue. The brick wall is a Grade II Listed Building/Structure dating from the 18th century rather than Tudor, although it may be on older foundations.
The land primarily comprised two farms, Cheam Court Farm and Cheam Manor Farm which were both part of the Northey Estate. The interwar period saw the break-up of the estate due to finances. South of Cheam Village is mainly residential with most housing being individual, spacious detached family homes in large, landscaped gardens.
Noted local builder Andrew Burton built 3 estates:, Cheam Manor Estate (Manor Road, Holland Avenue, York Road, and Cornwall Road), Cheam Warren Estate (The Avenue and Shirley Avenue) and the Cheam Downs Estate (Golf Side, Downs Side and part of Sandy Lane).
Andrew Burton’s unique style has many recognisable features including tile-hung facades, leaded light windows and porches in an Arts and Crafts Style.
The Burton Estates formed part of the South Cheam Special Policy Area (SPA). South Cheam had been designated as a Special Policy Area for many years until the adoption of the LDF’s Site Development Policies DPD in 2011. The following is an extract from the 2003 UDP:
“South Cheam Special Policy Area
6.205 South Cheam is a low density housing area and is predominantly characterised by large detached houses set in attractive, well landscaped grounds which front onto tree lined roads. The overall character and quality is one of attractive openness.
6.206 In the Council’s 1997 Landscape Appraisal of the Borough the quality of the environment in much of the South Cheam Area was assessed as very good. Indeed, the low density, detached housing fronting ‘Sandy Lane’, ‘Golf Side’, ‘Down Side’ and ‘The Drive’ was identified as being of exceptional quality in Borough-wide terms.”
Burton Estates ASLC
The advent of the LBS Local Development Framework (LDF), meant that the Special Policy Area designation could not continue. The only designation to be recognised other than a Conservation Area is an Area Special Local Character (ASLC).
The character of South Cheam was assessed critically and it was agreed that the area developed by Andrew Burton in the 1930s exhibited a special character that was worthy of ASLC designation. This was a smaller area than the previous South Cheam SPA, notably excluding The Drive and parts of Burdon Lane, which were Edwardian, and several of the roads to the west of the northern end of Sandy Lane which were of mixed heritage.
The boundary of the Burton Estates ASLC was established based mainly on the Cheam Warren and the Cheam Downs Estates as refined by Council officers using visual inspection. The character of the area has been acknowledged by numerous planning inspectors when assessing planning appeals so clearly has demonstrable credibility. However, what is missing is advice and guidance for property owners, developers and architects on key aspects of the character of the area so that these can to taken into account when extending properties or redeveloping within the area so that the special character of the area is maintained and not lost.
Carshalton Beeches and South Sutton
As with South Cheam, up until the adoption of the LDF’s Site Development Policies DPD a large part of Carshalton Beeches and South Sutton were designated as a Special Policy Area. The reasoning for the designation on the 2003 UDP reads:
“Carshalton Beeches and South Sutton Special Policy Area
6.207 Carshalton Beeches and South Sutton comprise low density development of predominantly detached houses situated in large plots with mature landscape, although there are also a number of roads which contain large semi-detached houses. These areas are located on either side of Banstead Road South, with the Carshalton Beeches Area lying to the east of Banstead Road South and the South Sutton Area lying to the west of Banstead Road South.
6.208 In the Council’s 1997 Landscape Appraisal of the Borough, the interwar, semi-detached housing was considered to be of consistently good quality, whilst the low density housing throughout South Sutton was identified as being of very good quality. However, the low density detached housing within large plots which front both sides of Pine Walk and Beeches Walk were assessed as exceptional quality.”
Both the Carshalton Beeches, the South Sutton SPA and the South Cheam SPA were recognised by the following policy in the 2003 UDP (and previous):
“Policy BE39 - New Developments in Special Policy Areas
THE COUNCIL WILL EXPECT NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN SOUTH CHEAM, CARSHALTON BEECHES AND SOUTH SUTTON (AS DEFINED ON THE PROPOSALS MAP) TO RESPECT AND, WHERE POSSIBLE, ENHANCE THE CHARACTER AND APPEARANCE OF THE AREA, IN TERMS OF ITS BUILT FORM, THE RETENTION OF EXISTING MATURE AND SEMI-MATURE TREES AND THE NEW LANDSCAPING FORMING PART OF THE DEVELOPMENT.”
The Site Development Policies DPD adopted in 2011 no longer recognised the Carshalton Beeches and South Sutton SPA, but did recognise the Pine Walk ASLC. As with South Cheam there is no formal character appraisal of this area to give property owners, developers and architects advice and guidance on how to enhance their properties so as to preserve the character of the area.