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Otford Palace Tower could receive £130k improvements

Sevenoaks District Council could be in line to spend £130,000 on structural improvements to Otford Palace Tower.

The remains of the tower, gatehouse and other relics are all that exist of the former Archbishop’s Palace which dates back to 1515 and is now listed as a scheduled ancient monument.

The council has been in possession of the site since 1935 under the guise of its predecessor, Sevenoaks Rural Council.

Otford Palace Tower before scaffolding was erected
Otford Palace Tower before scaffolding was erected

Since this time the ancient ruins have been maintained. A new flat roof was installed in the late 1970s and other works have taken place since the turn of the millennium.

Despite this construction, the structure has deteriorated significantly and in January of this year a detailed condition survey was undertaken in consultation with Historic England.

It found the flat roof and some loadbearing timbers need to be replaced urgently together with works to the masonry to preserve the structure for the immediate future.

A tender process was subsequently undertaken with four specialist conservation companies that provided estimates to carry out the necessary improvements.

In parallel with these works, the council is continuing to look at the long-term future of the site.

Because of its location within a conservation area and the protected nature of the structure the council is actively researching possible sources of funding for the tower's long-term preservation.

Cllr Tony Searles, the council’s cabinet member for finance, said: “As a scheduled ancient monument, we are responsible for the maintenance of Otford Palace Tower.

"But if funding is agreed by Council, these works could potentially open the doors to other external sources of funding for the long-term preservation of the ruins.”

The cabinet will consider a report recommending that £130,699 be made available for structural works at its meeting next Thursday.

A final decision will be made at a full council meeting on July 21.

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