Dover Western Heights fort development challenged

Drop Redoubt Image copyright English Heritage
Image caption Ditches up to 49ft (15m) deep link the Drop Redoubt to the North Centre Bastion on Western Heights

A dispute over plans for more than 500 new homes in an area of outstanding natural beauty in Kent is intensifying.

The plans include a 130-bed hotel, 521 homes and 90 retirement properties.

The developers are to contribute £5m to the Drop Redoubt fort at Dover's Western Heights for restoration and a new visitors centre.

The Campaign for Rural England is seeking a judicial review into Dover District Council's granting of planning permission for the development.

CPRE Kent said the £5m contribution should not have been taken into account when the council approved the plans in April.

'Irreversible harm'

In a statement, the charity said: "It was unlawful of Dover District Council to have regard to a £5m contribution to heritage enhancements at Western Heights in its decision to allow the housing at Farthingloe.

"The two sites are unrelated, being 2km apart."

Hilary Newport, Director of CPRE Kent, said: "It would cause irreversible harm to this beautiful area which could never be restored and would be lost forever."

The developers, CG International, said its plans include a "comprehensive countryside access area", linking the site at Farthingloe to Western Heights, providing access to the 18th Century fort.

The company said: "It includes a site previously used to house Channel Tunnel workers, where planning permission has previously been granted for a business park."

The development is also set to include a pub and restaurant and 31 new homes, as well as the conversion of an existing building to nine homes at Western Heights.

English Heritage said it would not be appropriate to comment, ahead of the judicial review.

Drop Redoubt's history

  • Fortifications on the site overlooking Dover and the English Channel were built in the 1780s after war broke out with France in 1778
  • The defences were enhanced after the outbreak of the Napoleonic Wars in 1793 and the Drop Redoubt was built between 1804 and 1815
  • "Redoubt" means a detached fort, and "The Drop" was the name previously given to the area
  • The fort is linked to a citadel on the west side of the hill by ditches up to 49ft (15m) deep
  • The Army left the site in stages between 1954 and 1961
  • There is no public access to the fort, although it can be viewed from nearby footpaths

(Source: English Heritage)

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