County estate plan potting shed project to grow future revenues

Digitally-rendered artists impresssions of how the ‘Garden Cottages’ will look

A country estate in Tunbridge Wells plans to turn some under-utilised outbuildings into holiday cottages as part of a wider plan to grow revenues for the future.

The brick-built potting sheds at Salomons Estate in Broomhill Road were part of a large glasshouse built in 1888-90, and were originally a place for gardening staff to nurture seedlings and re-pot plants for the estate’s extensive fruit and flower gardens.

At their height, Salomons gardeners cultivated sixty varieties of apple, forty-five of pears, and many more exotic types, including peach and melon.

Now, planning permission has been granted by Tunbridge Wells Borough Council to turn them into ‘Garden Cottages’, a holiday apartment development, following designs by architect Gaby Higgs, a specialist in the restoration and conversion of Georgian houses.

The architect’s plans are part of a wider heritage conservation plan to generate the funds necessary to restore the Grade II listed Salomons House and to promote local tourism.

It is the second such development planned for the estate, which is run by Elite Leisure Collection, owner of One Media that also publishes the Times.

Last month the Times revealed how the former stables at Runcie Court on the estate are also being redeveloped into visitor accommodation.

When they open this October, the converted potting sheds will become three of the four self-catering holiday units will each have a spacious bedroom, fully-equipped kitchen and bathroom, a lounge area with TV and its own outdoor bistro style table and chairs.

The larger fourth cottage has two bedrooms and sleeps up to six.

Martin Wood of the construction company Dark Projects said: “The newly-appointed rooms, with exposed original brickwork, Shaker-style kitchens and quarry tiles, will harmonise with the existing outbuildings, and complement David Salomons’ original vision for the grounds.

“We are working closely in conjunction with the estate’s team and architect to restore and convert the commercial units, while sympathetically honouring the design and layout of the original Victorian buildings.”

The Garden Cottages can be booked for short- or long-term stays, from November 1.

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