An online meeting will be held to share updated plans for the development of 153 homes at the Westwood Lodge site in Poorhole Lane.
L&G Modular Homes have taken over the scheme and made a series of amendments to areas including moving new builds further away from the existing buildings and retaining more of the trees onsite.
Outline planning permission for the development, which is private land, was granted by appeal in 2017. The original application in 2015 was rejected by Thanet council for reasons including concern at additional pressure on Sandwich Bay protection area and “a significant incursion of the built form into the green wedge.”
The Planning Inspectorate decision overturning Thanet council’s case said it was weakened by a lack of a 5 year housing supply plan and “as the woodland visible along the northern and eastern site boundaries would be largely retained its distinctive landscape qualities would not be prejudiced.”
The Grade II listed main house of Westwood Lodge, built in 1864, the 17th Century cottage and the gate piers will remain intact on the site.
Former developer applicant Places For People Homes Ltd pulled out of the scheme last year. During the second half of 2020 Rooksmead Residential Ltd agreed terms with L&G Modular Homes on a revised set of proposals.
An amended layout and detail with regard to the appearance, landscaping, and scale of the new development has since been submitted.
Documents for the amended plans say: “The scheme has been developed with the heritage constraints in mind and has sought to preserve the immediate setting of the grade II listed main house and associated gate piers, as well as The Cottage.”
The main changes are
- More of the established landscape structure, with internal woodlands creating three discreet clearings to the north, appears to be retained. These landscape buffers break the proposed development into three smaller sections, thereby limiting the overall visual impact as perceived from any one view and have the effect of moving the central ‘block’ of development further away from any more direct views from the terrace of Westwood Lodge;
- The layout has a more informal feel than the perimeter blocks, with buildings grouped in longer terraces, thereby minimising any busy visual clutter which might distract from the setting of Westwood Lodge more generally;
- More of the historic carriage drive has been retained, with the new estate road using only a small section at the ‘spur’ with the service drive before crossing through the woodland to the new perimeter road further north. The crossing point lies substantially further west, away from Westwood Lodge, thereby protecting a greater proportion of its setting
- Whereas the new buildings closest to Westwood Lodge were three full stories with prominent gables, the orientation of the roofscapes have been rotated with rear pitches backing onto the new road layout, presenting a more recessive form of development onto the retained setting of the assets.
No formal boundary is proposed between the new development and Westwood Lodge. This will remain as existing, with the boundary will be formed by existing trees, in order to protect the setting of the current building.
The listed entrance gates will be retained and opened up to pedestrian access along the carriage drive.
In February last year the Thanet Trees group held a protest at the site asking for halt in works for full ecology surveys, approval of planning conditions and for more information to be shared about a rumoured burial pit.
The group had concerns for birds, bats, slow worms and reptiles.
A statement in the amended plans says: “The Westwood Lodge Estate represents a sizeable landholding requiring considerable capital to invest in maintenance and repairs.
Some of the buildings appear to have fallen into disuse and much of the walled garden is overgrown. Consideration may therefore be given to whether any broader conservation benefits may arise from the reuse of the buildings and spaces, such as the Coach House and walled gardens.
“As appropriate, there may also be further potential for restoration of some of the features, including the historic metal fencing along Sloe Lane, reinstatement of iron railings at the entrance drive, and repairs to the balustrade of Westwood Lodge’s terrace, though these would not necessarily be predicated on the proposed development of the site.”
L&G Modular Homes will host the virtual meeting on Tuesday, February 16 at 7pm.
Anyone who would like to attend is asked to email [email protected] and a link to the meeting will be sent.
Find the amended plans on Thanet council’s planning portal under reference R/TH/20/0174
Westwood Lodge history
Westwood Lodge was built in 1864 as a holiday retreat for Spencer Herepath, a Kensington stockbroker whose firm specialised in South American Railway securities.
The architect is not at present known but there is speculation that it could have been Henry Winnock Hayward (1825-1893) who had built houses of a similar style in Phillimore Place, Kensington near Herepath’s London residence.
Herepath’s daughter Marion married Linley Sambourne, the celebrated Punch illustrator, in 1874. After Spencer Herepath died in 1884, Mrs Herepath lived there until the property was sold in 1893.
The next owner was Harry Rickards (1841-1911), a celebrated music hall artist who became a music hall impresario in both England and Australia. This was his English estate. By 1911 he was considered probably the largest single-handed music hall manager and proprietor in the world. Subsequent owners were the Farrell family. The property has been in continuous ownership by one family from 1948 until the present day. From 1929 the estate was used for farming and market gardening.
The entrance piers, gates and wall to Westwood Lodge were built circa 1865 in Gothic style.
The 17th century flint cottage is possibly listed as no 599 on sheet 2 of the Tithe Apportionment of 1838 for St Peter’s and Broadstairs, a house and garden owned and occupied by Mary Packer, connected with three arable fields. After 1865 it came into the same ownership as Westwood Lodge.