A large Victorian-era villa house currently used as offices could be restored in part to its original residential use.
Longford House in Mount Ephraim Road in Tunbridge Wells was converted to office accommodation many years ago and despite the stuccoed face it presents to the road, there are more basic office extensions to the rear, built in the 1930s and 1960s.
The building is within the town centre Conservation Area.
The owners, Zenith International Investments, say the demand for office space has been hit hard by Covid and by the subsequent switch to working from home. They say that 40% of the building space has remained unlet for the past five years.
They plan to reverse that by converting the ground, first and second floors of the original building into eight flats.
The basement level and the two rear extensions would remain as office accommodation, but a new entry portico would be built at the side so that the office workers had their own entrance, with residents entering from the existing road-facing lobby.
It is proposed to create two 3-bedroom, four 2-bedroom and two 1-bedroom apartments. Each would benefit from a reserved space in the undercroft parking to the building.
There would be no change to the traditional facade that the building presents to the road.
The plans would result in the overall loss of one parking space – down to 43.
The flats would take up approximately 35% of the total floor space of the building.
Tunbridge Wells has recently been rated one of the best places to live in the UK in a survey carried out by Which? magazine.
The application can be viewed here.
Application number 23/02299 refers.