The Past in Need of Restoration
For over a century the sanatorium has been an important landmark, not only in the local community and surrounding district but also in the wider national context. It is of paramount importance that the unique and interesting character of this group of Grade II and II* listed buildings is secured for the long term.
City & Country has employed a team of experts who have assessed the state of disrepair of the hospital buildings and the essential repairs identified have recently been temporarily addressed to ensure that no further damage is sustained in the short term. The buildings have also been secured in order to try to prevent further theft of the historic fixtures and fabric of the building. We understand that it is essential to ensure the buildings do not suffer any further damage while a long term solution is found.
Simultaneously our experts are researching and understanding in detail the unique and important aspects and features of not only the buildings and their historic development but also the site itself. It is also imperative that they fully understand the reasons that the restoration of King Edward VII has failed to proceed in the past.
The initial findings make it clear that the past history of failed development, due to the unique complexities and sheer scale of this project, means that in order to provide a long term and viable solution to protect and safeguard the integrity of these important listed buildings and their unique surroundings that an enabling development solution will need to be quite significant.
This will inevitably raise opposition from certain quarters due to genuine and perceived concerns about the potential impact that any proposed development will have. It is for this reason that we are engaging with the local community at an early stage in our proposals to ensure that any interested parties have a opportunity to identify any potential issues and wherever possible City &
Country will reconsider proposals in order to avoid or mitigate the impact.
City & Country is used to dealing with very sensitive sites, and appreciates the importance and rarity of the buildings designed by Charles Holden and Percy Adams, the gardens created by Gertrude Jeykll, together with the abundance of significant natural habitat both surrounding and within the site. We also understand that there is a strong local interest in the project.
There is an exciting and genuine opportunity to reveal and reinstate as much of the original 1903 – 1906 scheme and associated landscaping as possible, in order to return the buildings and site to its former glory whilst ensuring the longevity of the buildings bringing the wider social, cultural and historical benefits.
The key factors that have been taken into consideration are set out below:
- An historical analysis of the buildings has been undertaken to establish the hierarchy and importance of later additions in order to inform decision making with regard to the removal of some of the less sympathetic extensions.
- An historic landscape and ecological assessment of the site has been undertaken to establish the sensitivities of the different areas of the site to determine the most appropriate areas for enabling development or ecological enhancement.
- City & Country is committed to the retention, enhancement and where possible reinstatement of the principle architectural elements from the original 1903-06 scheme. In particular this includes the principal south and north elevations of the Grade II* Sanatorium, the reintroduction of the west and east courtyards, and many of the interior spaces that would have been lost under the earlier consents.
- Particular care will be taken with the Grade II* Chapel and under the approval it will be converted to a shop/cafe that the general public can use.
- There is a determination to restore and reinstate substantial parts of the Gertrude Jekyll designed gardens that have been lost over time including the schemes for the entrance drive, and the west courtyard up to the chapel.
- The importance of providing excellent facilities to limit the need to travel to the nearest settlement thereby creating a more sustainable rural community is recognised.
- City & Country has carried out meaningful consultation with the neighbours, local parishes and statutory authorities to build up a constructive dialogue that has influenced the proposals.
- The enabling development is linked by a legal agreement to the restoration of the historic buildings to ensure a permanent solution is found to preserve the buildings. This agreement includes limited public access to the grounds on a set number of days each year, to allow the wider community to benefit from the restoration of the buildings and gardens.
- City & Country is expert in the field of restoration and conservation and therefore all repairs to the original buildings will be carried out sympathetically and using the original building techniques and materials, wherever possible.