Open day at heritage estate as it presents development plans

INVESTMENT plans for a listed-building renovation at one of Tunbridge Wells’ oldest country estates will be open to the public in a presentation next week.

Under recently submitted plans, Runcie Court, the elaborate late-Victorian stables and coach house at Salomons Estate in Broomhill Road, will be re-purposed from commercial use to accommodation, public meeting spaces and café.

The conversion is designed to improve Runcie Court’s financial sustainability as well as restoring and preserving period features, such as decorative tiles, joinery, and ephemera relating to the stables, which David Lionel Salomon built in 1884.

On October 20, plans will be presented by project architect Gaby Higgs, who specialises in the restoration and conversion of Georgian houses, including sensitive retrofitting for environmental performance and sustainability.

After Ms Higgs’ presentation, she will answer questions regarding the planning application, and then lead a one-hour tour of the building, ending at 7pm.

The Runcie Court proposals are part of the estate’s wider investment programme to conserve its heritage assets, promote local tourism, and generate the funds to restore the main house, which was designed by Decimus Burton.

The plans already have the backing of Historic England, who said in a statement to planners at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council: “Overall, we appreciate the aims of this project and the work done to date to limit the harm caused. We consider that the overall level of harm to significance to be low and recommend that this harm should be balanced by public benefit, including heritage benefits.”

Salomons Estate, which is owned by the Elite Leisure Collection, which also runs One Media, publisher of the Times, said the open evening was part of its ‘duty to approach the project with sensitivity’ given the building’s Grade II listing.

The tour also includes most accessible areas, apart from the first and second floors of Runcie Court East Wing, and the clock tower.

Those wishing to attend should meet at the Runcie Court stable courtyard at 5pm.

The presentation and Q&A starts at 5:15pm, with a tour from 6pm to 7pm. Refreshments are provided, and free is parking available.

Contact for more details.

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