Ford Gilpin Riley Architects
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The Rousdon Estate, Lyme Regis

Client: The Rousdon Estate Limited
Area: 350 acres
Stage: Carried out 1999 – 2006
Building costs: Not applicable
Description: Conservation and New Build 100 units

The 350 acre Rousdon Estate is located in a magnificent clifftop setting on East Devon’s “Jurassic coast”, a World Heritage Site. It was built in the 1870’s, as a country retreat for Sir William Peek, M.P. for Wimbledon and founder of the Peek tea empire. It was conceived as a self-sufficient country estate comprising a number of now listed buildings arranged in a semi-formal layout. The principal buildings on the estate were, the Grade II* Mansion House and Billiard Room, St Pancras church and Walled Garden, there is also a Stable Courtyard “model” farm, 3 Lodgehouses and numerous former estate-workers cottages.

In the mid 20th century the estate was bought by Allhallows School, who remained there until their demise in the early part of this century. During their tenure, a number of modern structures were built, not all of which were appropriate to there setting amongst important Listed Buildings. The estate was designated as a Conservation Area in 2000. When we were appointed by the new owners, our first task was to prepare a “masterplan” for the estate. This had to produce a carefully balanced plan which included sufficient new development to generate the income necessary to subsidise the refurbishment of the historic buildings.

During our 6 year involvement with the estate we secured planning and Listed Building Consent for the conversion of all of the historic buildings which, together with new-build replacements for the demolished “School Structures” provided a total of 105 dwellings. This work required us to work in close co-operation with Conservation Authorities including English Heritage. The redevelopment of the estate secured the long term future of the Listed Buildings and Parkland and the estate is now managed and maintained by a residents association. The development is now regarded as an exemplar conservation project by East Devon District Council’s Planning Department.

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