Part 2 – Princess Royal ‘evidence of deliberate neglect’ emerges

The Outline Demolition Plan prepared by Harding Bond, dated 10th August 2016 and referred to in the Fairhurst Report in the latest application 22/0109/FH to demolish the Princess Royal, owned by Sir Roger De Haan [pictured] states:

The report, indicates the building is structurally unsafe and is beyond economic repair. There is an immediate danger to public safety that requires the erection of scaffolding around the building as soon as possible

and

The building is in poor condition with some areas unsafe to enter due to structural instability.Before any work can be carried out the building will need to be stabilised with internal structural support/scaffold. The stabilisation work will need to be carried out prior to survey and removal of ACM.

Paragraph 196 of the National Planning Policy Framework (previously Para 130 under the old NPPF ) states:

Where there is evidence of deliberate neglect of, or damage to, a heritage asset, the deteriorated state of the heritage asset should not be taken into account in any decision

On the 7 Feb, 2017, the Council’s own Conservation Consultancy Advisor produced the Anthony Swaine Report  their report states:

The Harding Bond report goes into some detail as to the derelict state of the building, describing holes in roofs, failed flat roof areas and the results of water penetration over an extended period — failed floors, decayed joinery, etc. However, the report fails to have identified any fundamental structural failure of the sort that would render any sort of renovation project impractical and generally only describes the sort of failure that has resulted from an extended period of neglect and failure to address the ingress of water into the building.

This is a classic example of where the building has been left to rot by both past and current owners who have not displayed any commitment to the upkeep of the building, nor to keep it wind and water tight. This is a typical example of where a building is allowed to deteriorate and its resultant condition is then used as an excuse to demolish the building for redevelopment.

The Princess Royal, although unlisted, is nevertheless a significant building which contributes in no uncertain way to the setting of the townscape of this part of the Conservation Area. It could be defined as a Non-Designated Heritage Asset. The demolition of the building would harm the townscape character of this part of the Conservation Area and in the absence of any proposals for a replacement building, or a timescale for its development, it is impossible to promote an argument that the demolition would preserve or enhance the character of the Conservation Area — the statutory test.

Nothing demonstrates that anything has changed in the intervening years – 2017 – 2022 and “is a classic example of where the building has been left to rot by both past and current owners who have not displayed any commitment to the upkeep of the building, nor to keep it wind and water tight.”

The Anthony Swaine Report goes onto say:

In my view this is an unacceptable proposal for demolition, harmful to the Conservation Area and the proposal is unsupported by information that is sufficient to justify the demolition, nor are there any adequate proposals shown for the post-demolition treatment of the site, the treatment of retaining walls or abutments to The Parade Steps, and there are no proposals suggested for the design of the replacement building, nor any timescale indicated for the redevelopment following demolition.

It is possible the Council could be minded to refuse the application and consider whether an Amenity Notice under

Section 215 of the 1990 Town and Country Planning Act

or

a Nuisance Order under Section 29 of the Local Government (miscellaneous provisions) Act is an appropriate action to take against Sir Roger.

is more appropriate. We would add that it is also possible to use

ss79-82 of the Environmental Protection Act for abatement or prohibition of a nuisance;

or

s54 of the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (Urgent Works Notice),

Any of these pieces of legislation would all be appropriate actions to take against Sir Roger, who owns the building via his two companies Folkestone Habour Nominee (1) Ltd and Folkestone Harbour Nominee (2) Ltd.

The current application 22/0109/FH for demolition of the Princess Royal represents a proposal to demolish an unlisted Heritage Asset within the Conservation Area. The NPPF has clauses, 196, 203, 204 and Para 207,  for this situation should  Sir Roger, or his agent, decide to appeal any refusal by the Council. Also the appplication is being decided under the wrong application type. It should be decided as per the 2017 application – full plannning permission, NOT Demolition in a conservation area.  Therefore given what has been cited by the Anthony Swaine report, we  – The Shepway Vox Team – honestly believe Folkestone & Hythe District Council Planning Department, must refuse the application.

Any Cllr who sits on the planning committee should urgently call this application in – they have until March 3rd, the earliest date a decison can be made. A call in would allow the committee to challenge such unacceptable behivour of the owner and the evidence of neglect.

Nothing has changed since the last application in 2017 and the present one 2022, except the owner – Sir Roger De Haan – has we honestly believe, ‘allowed the Princess Royal to deteriorate and its resultant condition… used as an excuse to demolish the building for redevelopment.” It must NOT be allowed.

The Shepway Vox Team

HERITAGE MATTERS

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Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

6 Comments on Part 2 – Princess Royal ‘evidence of deliberate neglect’ emerges

  1. Unfortunately, this is a tactic used too often by developers – look at the White Lion (?) in Cheriton. Stripped of its valuable roof tiles, it has been left to deteriorate as an eyesore to allow for demolition and the errection of a much larger, profitable development no doubt. If I remember rightly,at one point our own learned PM was involved (via an offshore company possibly?).

  2. George S // March 1, 2022 at 08:05 // Reply

    Excellent and fearless reporting in the public interest. Wouldn’t see this on Kentonline or in the Herald

    • Let the whiners put their money where their mouth is and invest in the town if they don’t like what is happening.

  3. Sir RDH gets away with everything from FHDC. It is time he was stopped!

  4. I have not been an admirer of the Shepway Vox Team for a number of years. But this post has changed my mind. Wonderful reporting. Please do continue to expose important information such as this.

  5. Disappointed // March 2, 2022 at 14:43 // Reply

    Apparently yet another case of FHDC prepared to turn a blind eye to Sir Roger and his merry men and allow them to ride roughshod over planning legislation. I’m sure the ordinary man in the street would not be allowed to get away with it!

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