THE GARDENS of a much-loved historic landmark in Kenilworth could be protected from any future development after planners ruled that no new builds on the grounds of The Wantage would be acceptable.
Turlington (International) Ltd, which owns the Grade II building and two plots of land associated with it, was this week rejected in its latest application to build a house on one of the garden plots adjoining the main building.
Planning officers at Warwick District Council refused the bid on grounds that the build could adversely affect “the settling of a listed building” and stating that no dwelling or unit of any kind would be acceptable on site.
And the decision could set a precedent on all future developments up at the grounds, the future of which has been the centre of controversy for many years.
Welcoming the news as potentially securing the safe future of all associated land, Cllr Pat Ryan said that any development in the gardens would have set a “dangerous precedent”. He said: “The developers tried to argue that the gardens did not come under the historic status, but this decision proves that they do and that they now have a level of protection secured.”
Turlington (International) Ltd, a registered charity, purchased the building and plots 10 and 12 with support of one of its benefactors but have been so far unable to transform the grounds in the face of widespread opposition.
They insisted that the latest application for a family house on plot 12 would be in keeping with the character of the main house. But planning officers agreed that any new dwelling or unit in the area would “unacceptably harm the distinctive character and appearance of this part of the Castle Hill and Kenilworth Conservation Area” and that such a radical change in character on the main route to Kenilworth Castle would cause “significant harm”.
They also found that the proposed build would go against the local plan which prevents potentially harmful development to the “structure, character, principle components and settings” of gardens of specific interest.
The gardens were placed on the Local Register of Historic Parks and Gardens due to their importance last month.