The preservation and restoration of the 22 listed buildings and the Scheduled Ancient Monuments that form the centrepiece of the historic assets of the St Osyth Priory Estate is of immense importance, both in local and national terms. With a social and cultural history dating back over 900 years and with structures still in place from the monastic period St Osyth Priory really does warrant going to extraordinary lengths to save.
Sadly, as has been highlighted previously, these buildings are all in a poor and rapidly declining physical condition and therefore the scale of the challenge facing the Sargeant Family is enormous. They have the enthusiasm and experience to restore the assets but need financial assistance to invest in the restoration project and to ensure the long-term maintenance of the structures so that they can be preserved and protected for the benefit of future generations.
The Family is working on a package of proposals for enabling development within the St Osyth Estate which would generate the funding to assist in the uneconomic but essential repairs to many of the ancient structures that make up The Priory. These repairs will ensure that The Priory, as we all know and love it today, is not lost. The Sargeant Family wish to ensure that they can responsibly pass on this historic legacy in a condition that neither places an even greater burden onto the next generation of society nor results in many of these structures being lost completely, as has sadly happened extensively throughout its long history. There is a strong planning policy framework at national and local levels which encourages the preservation and restoration of historic buildings and in particular there are provisions in the Tendring District Council Local Plan which specifically relate to St Osyth Priory. TDC and English Heritage have both recognised the need to preserve The Priory and have agreed to explore the case for enabling development to fund appropriate works of conservation.
The size of the conservation deficit that has unfortunately been allowed to grow over the last 100 years means that any enabling development solution will be significant and will inevitably raise opposition from certain quarters due to genuine and perceived concerns about the potential impact that any proposed development may have. For this reason, as part of the planning process, we are working closely with Tendring District Council to produce an Environmental Impact Assessment which will look in detail at any potential effects new development has on the Priory, the surrounding area and the local community. The assessment will allow all those interested parties to identify any potential issues at an early stage and wherever possible to reconsider proposals in order to avoid or mitigate any impact. This process whilst not complete has so far enabled our experts, consultants, English Heritage and Tendring District Council to discount a number of potential development options.
The proposals have been devised to form a masterplan designed to safeguard the integrity of the historic buildings and ancient monument with full regard for other constraints, such as the St Osyth Conservation Area and local ecological and landscape designations.
Click here to view the Tendring District Council local plan which states the policy for St. Osyth Priory under section EN27a.