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Plan to turn Newlands Care Home into flats leads to new action from residents

By Eleanor Perkins

Residents desperate to save an "iconic" property from conversion into flats will use a site visit to demonstrate their arguments.

Newlands - a former nursing home within a stone’s throw of Grade II listed Walmer Castle - has been left to wrack and ruin after it was closed down after a damning CQC report in July 2016.

Despite its unkempt appearance, residents believe it is the jewel in Wellington Parade’s crown and are fighting to save the property rather than see it demolished and replaced by six flats and one house.

Newlands residential home in Walmer, which closed in 2016, could be demolished to make way for six flats
Newlands residential home in Walmer, which closed in 2016, could be demolished to make way for six flats

Last month, almost 80 objections led members of Dover District Council's planning committee to defer their decision until after a site visit tomorrow (Tuesday).

Neighbours plan to use this opportunity to re-iterate their objections, giving councillors just over 48 hours before they cast their vote at Thursday's planning meeting.

Wellington Parade resident James Ross said: "We just want to reason with the councillors and show them that it's a completely unique spot and how it would damage the view.

"We also want to show them how dangerous and inappropriate the road is for development because of hundreds of people that use the pathway for cycling and walking dogs.

An artists impression of what the new flats in Wellington Parade would look like Picture: DCC Planning Portal
An artists impression of what the new flats in Wellington Parade would look like Picture: DCC Planning Portal

"Walmer Parish Council were against it and there was really strong opposition from residents but it seems to make no difference at all. It's still recommended for approval."

He continued: "We feel the report is flawed. It says about the need for housing but theses houses or flats are not going to be used by local people, there's a likelihood that they'll be holiday flats.

"They say they can put flats there because there been a precedent of having a nursing home there. But it's not like for like.

"We're prepared to take legal action and we're seeking advice."

Newlands in Walmer is in a dilapidated state but residents want the original building to be saved
Newlands in Walmer is in a dilapidated state but residents want the original building to be saved

Hugh Mitchell and his wife Norma, who have lived in the road for 24 years, are also against the proposal which they say would destroy an "iconic" building.

Mr Mitchell has uncovered the particulars of the house in a 1932 auction sale document which he plans to show to the councillors.

It details its eight bedrooms, bathroom and two reception room and the image shows the property standing along in Wellington Parade, before the construction of neighbouring properties.

He said: "The house is thought of by DDC as a care home, but before that it was the jewel in the crown of Wellington Parade: a magnificent Edwardian residence lived in for 60 years initially by Colonel Matthey, part of the Johnson Matthey company of goldsmiths.

"By considering it a care home rather than private residence, they are trying to diminish our complaints about increased traffic, which will definitely increase because the apartments will more than likely become holiday lets."

A decision on whether Newlands residential home in Walmer will be demolished will be made on Thursday
A decision on whether Newlands residential home in Walmer will be demolished will be made on Thursday

The planning committee meeting will be held at the Council Offices in White Cliffs Business Park, Whitfield, starting at 6pm.

Efforts have been made to approach the owner for a comment.

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

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