Riverside project 'would spoil view'

By Ted JeoryAN ANCIENT priory's beautiful view across an unspoilt creek could be ruined forever if a nearby space-age shipyard redevelopment gets the go ahead, its owner claimed last night.

By Ted Jeory

AN ANCIENT priory's beautiful view across an unspoilt creek could be ruined forever if a nearby space-age shipyard redevelopment gets the go ahead, its owner claimed last night.

Tim Sargeant said his family bought 500-year-old St Osyth's Priory for about £2million four years ago – before the emergence of controversial plans to redevelop the former James and Stone shipyard in Brightlingsea, nearly two miles away.

When plans were lodged by Hampstead Homes to transform the derelict yard into around 150 residential units in 2001, Mr Sargeant said no-one consulted him.


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Although his magisterial family home is far across the water from the proposed project, he insisted the views from his grade-II listed historic parkland would be ruined.

In March last year, Anthea Taigel, an historic gardens specialist from Norfolk, wrote to Mr Sargeant and explained that an avenue of trees in the priory's grounds was designed specifically in the 1760s to act a funnel for clear views across the creek and the Colne Estuary.

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Although the shipyard was built – and grew - after the trees were planted, Mr Sargeant said they are set far back from the shore whereas the new marina would be “more obtrusive”.

Mr Sargeant said that he and his family, who have made their fortune through property redevelopment themselves via their Stansted-based City and Country Group, did not object in principle to the Brightlingsea project, but just to the current design.

He said: “We're now custodians of this beautiful building and land and we have a responsibility to future generations to ensure nothing is spoilt.

“With the current designs, when the sun comes out it will shine over the glass and affect the views. We want to restore the parks and gardens here and possibly re-open them to the public.

“Tendring District Council failed to tell me about the plans – if they had they would have had Ms Taigel's expert opinion earlier.”

But Hampstead Homes has told the council that it will not alter the designs. Planning officers have been to the site to inspect Mr Sergeant's objections and have now recommended councillors overrule and grant approval next Wednesday.

Peter Patrick, the council's planning portfolio holder - and district councillor for Brightlingsea, said: “I find it hard to believe that the complaint is a material one as the priory is so far away.

“Having said that, the objectors did not make a representation at the time, but we are now trying to put that right.

“The people in Brightlingsea just want the whole plan to be resolved,” he added.

Tendring council rejected Hampstead Homes' previous application for the shipyard in August 2001.

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