Originally published 06/25/2013
James Ruddick is the author of several books including Death at the Priory, nominated for a Non-Fiction Edgar Award in the US. He has worked in radio and television as a broadcast journalist.Only in England could this happen: in a few days' time a judicial review will decide whether the countryside immediately surrounding Anne Hathaway's Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon can be torn up to make way for a new housing estate. No, seriously.The local government minister, Eric Pickles, has already ruled in favour of the development, backing Bloor Homes, and unless his decision is reversed, which few expect, one of the most popular heritage sites in Europe will be swamped by 800 new houses - not half a mile away, not even down the road, but rammed so tightly against its sides and rear that the tourists will find the little thatched building garlanded by satellite dishes, chrome barbecues and washing lines. Mr Pickles agreed that there were "material considerations weighing against the development", including "the harm to heritage assets". But he rubber-stamped it anyway.