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Dymchurch: Plans to turn historic Martello tower into holiday home

An historic war building situated in a seafront car park could be turned into a holiday let, fresh blueprints have revealed.

A planning application has been submitted to Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) to change Martello Tower 25 in Dymchurch into a vacation rental.

The 19th century building used for defence was sold at auction last year by Clive Emson.

The historic Martello Tower could be turned into a holiday let
The historic Martello Tower could be turned into a holiday let

Dunn Architects on behalf of the applicant Nicola Dealtry have revealed drawings for the disused building which has 6ft thick walls, with the intention of it being let to groups of up to eight people.

If approved, the tower would be divided into four storeys, connected with a new spiral staircase.

The ground floor would consist of a lobby, storage and a cinema room, to make use of no natural lighting, according to planning documents.

The existing stairwell would be retained, however, for occasional access to the top level.

A skylight at the top of the new staircase would provide natural light for the whole building, with four double bedrooms across the first and second floors, each with their own en suite. Two new windows would also be installed on the second floor.

The third floor plans feature an open plan kitchen and diner, as well as a small, external terrace "providing undisturbed views out to sea".

There is also provision for two parking spaces, and a new aluminium roof and double glazing would be installed.

Inside the Martello Tower
Inside the Martello Tower

The well-known feature on Romney Marsh had a guide price of between £70,000 to £75,000 - but instead went for more than double its estimated worth at a staggering £145,000 under the hammer last December.

Martello Towers were originally built in the 19th century to protect the British Empire from invasions from across the water.

This tower, built in 1806, was one of 74 towers built in Kent and Sussex in the Napoleonic Wars.

According to the heritage statement on the application, the building was grade II listed in 1985 along with the other two towers in Dymchurch.

Listed building consent is being sought in connection with the application.

The car park around it was laid out in 1967, while archive maps show it used to be an area of pasture.

The design and access statement notes that guano - accumulated excrement from seabirds - had built up inside the building at ground level but has recently been removed.

Developers have released images of their plan
Developers have released images of their plan

The interior of a classic British Martello tower typically consists of three storeys: ground, upper floor and the roof.

The small forts were designed to hold between 15 and 25 men and each measure around 40ft in height.

Effectiveness was never tested in combat against a Napoleonic invasion, however, they have proved a useful tool in catching smugglers.

A spokesman for the auctioneer Clive Emson, which sold the building, said last year the sale attracted a lot of interest.

Dunn Architects has drawn up plans to transform the site
Dunn Architects has drawn up plans to transform the site

Kevin Gibson said: “I wasn’t surprised it went for that much.

“Because unusual and historic buildings like this are becoming harder and harder to find in their original condition, people need to buy them as soon as they come up.

“The Martello Towers do generate a lot of interest. They are fantastic buildings.

“It doesn’t have planning consent and there will be certain constraints on the building, but buyers often have very creative imaginations.

The current roof of the building
The current roof of the building
How the building looks inside
How the building looks inside

“The building has incredible potential.”

Previous owner FHDC sold off the tower following a review of its assets in a bid to help plug a £6 million funding gap.

A council spokesman said a new owner would help “breathe new life into the building”.


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