Letter from a Reader about Western Heights.
- 12 April 2012 15:07Just had this interesting letter through...
Many thanks Lara. It is usually one of our most discussed topics but here with a different slant on things.
WESTERN HEIGHTS DEVELOPMENT.
I note from the Dover Forum website that several comments have been placed regarding this development.
I lived on the Western Heights, which is actually now officially known as the Village of Bradden, for a majority of my life. The entire area is a scheduled ancient monument and apart from the rather fantastic ideas of a hotel, glass elevator and cable car and the badly designed War Memorial, the proposed buildings on the Heights will be no more than purely detrimental to the entire area.
The plans show around 170 new dwellings on a hill that is riddled with anti napoleonic tunnels and buried WWII water tanks. Some of the new buildings will encroach directly onto current houses which have been there for rather a long time others will be over the skyline as seen from Dover.
At no point previously to the presentations by CGI were residents asked of opinions, and although the WHPS do an amazing job of looking after the Drop Redoubt and Grand Shaft areas, no consideration has been given to the residential areas.
I agree that the Redoubt should be preserved for future generations - but to what cost? ruining the unique archeology, history and wildlife on an area that is a major part of Dovers history and could, if managed properly, be a jewel for its future - look at Fort Amshurst in Medway.
If China Gateway International is interested in regenerating Dover, should they not be looking at the actual state of Dover? encouraging business, revamping the High Street? Snargate Street? Investing in the properties already needing attention in the town - certainly not building on green land, which when its gone can never be replaced.
Last edited by PaulB at 15:08 on 12 Apr 2012email: email@example.com
- 12 April 2012 16:13a intressting slant on things,i strongly behind the young lady about the housing.with all that history up there,more or lass on my doorstep it would be a shame and a sham to it all destroyed by housing.it should [the history part] should be enhanced with vigor.liberte,egalite,franernnty.
- 12 April 2012 16:19was an interesting read, not sure what she means by badly designed war memorial though.
as i see it cgi see the western heights as a good selling point but don't see any future in investing in the town.
- 12 April 2012 16:57I stand by my own personal view that the propsed War Memorial is badly designed, it lacerates through beautiful countryside that is synonymous with The White Cliffs of Dover, and although I salute and thank all who fought and lost their lives in the World Wars - why are we not commemorating Dover as a Historic Port Town that has protected England from a millennia of invaders.
CGI would of course see the Western Heights as a good selling point, as any commercial property investor would, they have investors and banks to make happy, and would probably make any presentation seem that much positive, but they are failing to see the bigger picture which would include the infrastructure that does not exist and would be very difficult to implement and all the points I previously made, and destroying an area that is unique which is one of the reasons that the small community that lives up there (some being prison officer families who have been there for 30 years plus) and other new families who have since moved there enjoy outstanding views and the peace and quiet.
If a large company such as CGI does not see a future in investing in the Town, then I would see that as a failure of Dover to promote itself for such ventures.
- 12 April 2012 17:04WHPS will do whatever we can to ensure that what is allowed is not to the detriment of the Western Heights and it's long term future. I think everyone is aware that the only way the Heights is going is downwards and the tens (hundreds?) of millions of pounds that are desparately needed isn't going to be given to us. We do what we can with very little money. Fort Amhurst is a fraction of the size of the Heights and has been in decay a lot longer.
If the developments are done sensitively and create a permanent presence up there that discourages vandalism and provides the kick start to repairing the heritage, then I think we will need to work with the developers to make the best of the situation. We have to be realistic. The money that the Castle takes goes around the country, millions of pounds of grants have gone on the Castle and Seafront, so I cannot see where the money will come from otherwise. In the meantime the place fall apart even more whilst we wait?
To be fair to the developers (I don't like to say it!) but they have to have plans in place to be able to discuss with residents and i think their have put a lot of time and investment into them, and have met with a lot of parties involved - Dover District Council, Tover Town Council, English Heritage, Home Office, National Trust, residents, WHPS. They could have just gone straight to planning.
Also I saw someone very animated in the market square roadshow about why aren't CGI investing money in the town - I can't see how they can do that when they don't own properties in the town !!
This still has a long way to run, there are lots of people to please, and lots of details to get this through planning....Been nice knowing you :)
- 12 April 2012 17:08Nice to see your not posting lasted less than 12 hours paul scotchie lol
anyway, for some time I spoke about the interests not only of the residents of
town and pier(including bradden) but also residents in general.
now we are starting to see local residents starting to show concen on lack of consultationCOME ON DOVER ATHLETIC AUTOMATIC PROMOTION THIS SEASON
- 12 April 2012 17:15I last posted on Monday, but don't let facts get in the way of things Keith
Someone posted something directly about the efforts of our volunteers and I didn't want to get petty around sending postings to PaulB!!
It is good to hear something from an ex-resident as we WANT views from people as to me it has been too quiet and I am not aware of anyone contacting WHPS about their views. It is difficult for us to assist in any way if we don't know what people want
I am off again now, and will 'probably' be back next month after my hols if people behave......Last edited by Paul aka Scotchie at 17:19 on 12 Apr 2012Been nice knowing you :)
- 12 April 2012 17:18paulscotchie
cant give any guarentee's on behaviour
doesnmt stop anyone posting though on the wide range of subjectsCOME ON DOVER ATHLETIC AUTOMATIC PROMOTION THIS SEASON
- 12 April 2012 17:19I emailed the deveopers direct Paul but if it helps you and the chaps at the WHPS I can also send my views / thoughts to you as well , for what they are worth .
- 12 April 2012 17:20sarah
all views im sure would be welcomeCOME ON DOVER ATHLETIC AUTOMATIC PROMOTION THIS SEASON
- 12 April 2012 17:21Keith I have already suibmitted my views and questions , I was offering to let the WHPS know what they are , if that would be of use to themLast edited 17:21 on 12 Apr 2012
- 12 April 2012 17:22and you have a lovely day/eveningCOME ON DOVER ATHLETIC AUTOMATIC PROMOTION THIS SEASON
- 12 April 2012 17:23You cant make me
- 12 April 2012 17:25oh ok thenCOME ON DOVER ATHLETIC AUTOMATIC PROMOTION THIS SEASON
- 12 April 2012 17:51I can see why Paul (Scotchie) gets fed-up and is taking time off.
Lara, are you Dick Pimblett's daughter ? I met him a few times - a couple at his (your) home up on the Heights. He was always passionate about the Heights and wanted it left as it is. It was a very sad day when he passed away.
The problem is that if just left alone, the sites on the Heights would just deteriorate and become dilapidated.
English Heritage who own much of the land up there, along with CGI, DDC, DTC and others are not going to put money in, without getting some out. Whatever goes up there though, must be done in keeping with and sympathetic to, the Schedule Ancient Monument(s).
- 12 April 2012 17:59My thoughts for what it is worth from somebody who does not live up there.
There should only be development that does not spoil the history of the area but that does not mean there should be no development. Hope that makes sense as I know what I mean.-----------------------------------------------------------------------
I try to be neutral and polite but it is hard at times.
- 12 April 2012 18:07roger;
wonder what you meantCOME ON DOVER ATHLETIC AUTOMATIC PROMOTION THIS SEASON
- 12 April 2012 18:21The Grand Shaft Barracks site is a dead zone at the moment. Sadly we can't reverse time or rebuild those incredible buildings, so what are we left with? Scrub land with a few display boards, thorny bushes and a couple of brick walls. The area is mainly used for fly tipping, dog walking and dubious male 'liaisons' early each evening. Even as someone who spends an unhealthy amount of time dedicated to the Heights, I wouldn't miss this waste ground should a developer come along. Certainly the War Memorial is in keeping with the military setting, would create a source of revenue and put an end to many of the less desirable activities in the area.
Sadly a conference centre or housing simply wouldn't work on the Barracks site - the hair pin bend at the end is unsuitable for heavy vehicles making construction and delivery extremely hard. Therefore the potential uses of the site are extremely limited, at least the Memorial would not suffer these shortcomings.
The Grand Shaft lift is a huge no-no due to the potential damage it could create to an iconic feature, the intrusive off loading terminus at the top and sheer pointlessness of vastly modernising a Napoleonic structure. I have doubts about how serious a proposal it really was, it probably just thrown in there as a wildcard to get people talking.
At least the housing proposals have been cut far back from the initial monstrous 600 to a more reasonable 180-ish. However, given the heritage status of the whole monument such housing development should be considered unobtrusive and fitting tastefully into the military landscape.
If there is to be any future to the conservation of the Western Heights, something has to be done. Money is just not going to spring out of no-where one day, if just left as it is, the whole monument will continue to decay. And let's face it, no matter how well-meaning WHPS are, there is only so much a small group of a couple-of-dozen monthly volunteers can do in a vast monument of miles of ditches and three forts with very little money.
I have to add that CGI have been trying to covet opinion via their website for some time, and held a few public consultations that I gather were not particularly well attended. The High Street and empty properties is totally outside their remit as property developers as they own no land there, so that's a bit of a non-starter I'm afraid. This development really is the only way the heritage of Heights might, just, be saved.
Please note that the above is just my personal view, not that of WHPS.
Last edited by Phil at 18:41 on 12 Apr 2012
- 12 April 2012 18:27something has to be done, leave things the way they are and further decay isinevitable.
eventually w.h.p.s and wccp volunteers will lose heart if they see no improvement.
i am up there about 3 times a week and amongst the great views and the historical bits is depressing desolation.
take a walk down from the citadel and admire the views before seeing the former prison officers club and the vegetation growing out of the side of the road.
- 12 April 2012 18:29The reduction in the Housing is really good 600 seems to me to have just been the opening bid , the lift is just silly . I would want to know that any proposed heritage works are intrinsically linked to the total scheme , not a subset of plans that can be walked away from once the housing is built .
I agree with you Phil unless a Roger de Hann comes out of the woodwork the Heights will deteroirate and this may be a way to ensure that they can be developed in a manner that dosnt destroy themLast edited 18:31 on 12 Apr 2012