12/03248/FUL and 12/03249/CAC – Land at Dorton Drive, Wildernesse Avenue
Demolition of existing teaching block, nursery, 3 terraced dwellings and single detached dwelling and redevelopment with a 34-bedroom Close Care Facility (Use Class C2) and 4 detached dwellings.

This application was been withdrawn and replaced by 14/01562 (see “Current Issues”)

The Society had closely monitored this submission in 2012 by the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) for a care home and other buildings after receiving representations from residents objecting to the proposals. The Society was also aware of the concerns of the Sevenoaks Conservation Council and the recommendation of Sevenoaks Town Council (STC) that the application be rejected by the District Council, and issued its own response – also urging that it be refused.

In summary our arguments were:

  1. 1. The application would have an adverse impact on the setting of Dorton House, a Grade 2 Listed Building, and on the Wildernesse Estate Conservation Area.
    2. The application was for part only of the Dorton House Estate. The Society felt strongly that it is wrong to deal with this application in isolation and that there should be a comprehensive approach to the future planning of this important area.
    3. It was therefore the Society’s view that the application be refused on the grounds that it involves a piecemeal approach to a sensitive conservation area which should be dealt with in a comprehensive manner.

Our Trees and Landscape Group also wrote to SDC, urging that whatever the decision, sufficient safeguards be put in place to preserve the special “countryside” character of the estate and to protect its historic trees, including the avenue of ancient chestnuts by Dorton House and the lime trees in Wildernesse Avenue.

The site was sold to PegasusLife in August 2013. In a statement the RLSB’s chairman Ian Stephenson said “RLSB is pleased to announce that PegasusLife, a specialist property developer that provides well designed homes for older people, is the new owner of the Dorton site.

We always wanted a new owner who understood the history and local relevance of this important site and we believe PegasusLife will uphold the standing of this wonderful place. RLSB is also pleased to announce that PegasusLife is leasing back some of the site’s buildings to the charity on a short term basis for a nominal rent.

This means that staff will remain in three of the buildings at the College site until at least August 2014.  The RLSB nursery will continue in its current location for up to six months prior to moving to the College’s Student Centre”.

The Sevenoaks Society continues to monitor the situation and the new application.

Click here for more details and an historical note.

Click here for our letter in response.