Work has started on an access road and footpath off Keepers Cottage Lane, Peters Village, as part of a listed building’s conversion and re-sale as two cottages.
The original 17th century building acted as the gatehouse for historic Wouldham Hall, demolished in 1960, but once home to the Peters family who owned and operated the 19th/early 20th century Peters cement works and quarries, now revitalised as Peters Village.
The Hall is also thought to have been home to Admiral Lord Nelson and his mistress Lady Emma Hamilton; a retreat from prying eyes while Nelson served at Chatham naval base during the Napoleonic Wars.
More recently, the old gatehouse was used as a single private home known as Gardeners Cottage, before purchase by Trenport to incorporate into the overall Peters Village development. The property stood empty from 2014 to await restoration and a new role, while major infrastructure work and housebuilding went on around it.
Trenport Director Chris Hall said: “We originally proposed refurbishment as quality offices, considering its Grade II listed building status, but local people and Wouldham Parish Council wanted a kindergarten or nursery to support young families in Peters Village.
“So, we considered this as an option for Gardeners Cottage, until investigation of the nursery sector showed that it could not deliver the capacity or layout needed, while a purpose-built facility within the new Peters Village Community Centre would be better.
“Apart from the extra capacity, this would place the nursery in the centre of the village, with shops and other facilities, easy parking and close to the new school, allowing parents to drop off and collect children of different ages more easily from the neighbouring locations.
“After a further review of the historic property’s future, we realised that period housing would be the best and most sympathetic outcome and applied to Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council for planning and listed building consent to create two separate homes, to be named Granary Cottage and Gardener’s Cottage.
“The road and footpath access were part of the application and the footpath will also link into Tram Way – the access work is expected to be completed by late March."
(Pictured) the former Gardeners Cottage, before it was mothballed in 2014 pending restoration and a new life
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