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Eastern Europe reject attack on planned flats to replace Buckland Hospital, Dover

By Sam Lennon

New apartments to replace a former hospital have been dismissed as Eastern European rejects.

The comment came from a neighbour who also said the development of 182 flats replacing the former Buckland Hospital was too many.

William House told a public meeting: “Those flats look identical to ones pulled down in Eastern Europe 20 years ago.

Artist's impression of the planned flats, subject to change. Picture Beanland Associates Architects Ltd

Possible look of the planned flats. Picture: Beanland Associates Architects Ltd

“At Buckland Estate they built warrens and they regretted it.

Mr House, who lives directly opposite the Coombe Valley Road site in Dover, added: “Originally there was a proposal for 24 houses there.

"Now it’s jumped to 182 flats. The infrastructure won’t handle it.

“It also means there will be 180-odd cars driving round.

“It will put more traffic on the roads and so cause more danger in the area.”

Neighbour Mrs Sigrid Sinnett added: “I bought a little cottage here. I don’t want that big thing there.”

Artist's impression of the planned flats, subject to change. Picture Beanland Associates Architects Ltd

Artist's impression of the planned flats, subject to change. Picture: Beanland Associates Architects Ltd

The views came out on Monday night during a St Radigund’s Resident’s Association (SRA) meeting at the Triangles Community Centre in Poulton Close.

Resident Steph Howarth argued that the development did not include social housing.

Mrs Sinnett added: “In St Radigund’s a lot of council houses were sold.”

The old Buckland Hospital last year, before demolition

The old Buckland Hospital last year, before demolition

Lisa Terry Sore subject.

Lisa Terry: "Sore subject."

Lisa Terry, secretary of SRA, said that the Southern Housing association had created a lot of new development at Aylesham.

She said: “This is a very sore subject. A lot of people here were born at this hospital and a lot of people have had family pass away there.”

Jimmy Digges, director of the developers Yellowstone Homes, of south London, told the meeting his company had only an outline plan.

The scheme, which has already had artists’ impressions made public, is expected to be submitted in an application to Dover District Council in a couple of weeks.

The scheme is for two blocks with rising levels going up to no more than seven storeys.
He told residents: “We are going to listen to what everyone is saying.”

He argued that there had been doctors’ and nurses’ homes at the original hospital with patients coming in and out 24 hours a day.

 

Jimmy Digges Flats will replace an eyesore. Picture courtesy of Jimmy Digges

Jimmy Digges: "Flats will replace an eyesore." Picture courtesy of Jimmy Digges

After the meeting Mr Digges stressed to the Mercury that only three speakers had objected out of about 25 people there.

He said if the scheme was unpopular many more would have attended to speak.

He added: “The reality is we have a lot of support for this scheme locally and I’m not surprised. We have removed an eyesore building that was redundant and vandalised.

"We safely removed asbestos that contaminated the hospital.

"We now intend, if we gain consent, to construct high quality apartments.”

Mr Digges explained that no social housing was being offered in this plan, firstly because three housing associations the architects had contacted had considered the site unsuitable.

He added: “As a company we would love to be able to provide social housing on the site.

“Unfortunately, this is a difficult site to develop along with the low resale prices of the private apartments in this area.

"It just makes it unviable to do this.”

Buckland opened as a hospital in 1948 and was replaced by the present one, just a few hundreds yards away, in 2015.

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