Portus + Whitton were the designated landscape architects and this was their description of the plans for Sladnor Park:
'This seaside site lies within a self contained valley of exceptional landscape quality and sensitivity. The proposal combines high design quality on a minimal footprint with a light-touch landscape enhancement strategy. The site includes 60 acres of woodland and pasture of high biodiversity value. Portus + Whitton worked closely with the LPA, ecology and forestry consultants in preparing a whole-site conservation-friendly management plan, including woodland management for both fuel and biodiversity, grazing for an organic rare-breeds herd of Devon Red cattle, specific management to encourage protected birds (cirl bunting) and bats (greater horseshoe), and restoration of ancient Devon banks.'
This carefully crafted statement made for reassuring reading by concerned Maidencombe residents. However, the complex designer and builder, HBG Construction Western, furnished us with this concise but ultimately stark statement of December 2007:
Torquay - Sladnor Park
HBG will design and build a new health care village complex for Richmond Care Villages. This includes a nine storey care building together with coach houses, lodges, landscaping, car parking and associated works. The architects are PRC Group and the Quantity surveyor is Nisbet LLP. The project is valued at £33 million.
WHY A NINE STOREY BUILDING?
|Nine storey 'vision of horror' on original Manor House footprint|
A mini skyscraper of nine storeys (see impression of what this would look like in mock-up photo above) would have admirably fulfilled the 'minimal footprint' description but at the severe cost of imposing, in my opinion, a totally inappropriate monstrosity upon this beautiful wildlife haven. Furthermore, a building of this height would hardly have aided established flight paths of substantial resident bat colonies.
Naturally, the cunning concept of a nine storey edifice was to give the owners far more scope (and potential profit) for adding extra infrastructure to the Retirement Village.
We should be grateful that this vision of horror was never visited upon an unsuspecting local population. However, this further exposé should serve to make residents extra vigilant for future plans of the site.