The recent Dungeness Residents Association were vociferous in their condemnation of Shepway Councils latest 'giving in' to outside developers – relating to what was claimed as an historic building – namely 'The Smokery'. Me thinks sour grapes born out of the fact that they were not made aware of the seemingly 'underhand' sale of the local church/buffalo lodge. Which to my mind must be considered a more worthy challenger as an 'historic building'. 'All these bleeding outsiders coming in and buying up properties – it just aint right' Of course the majority of the sour grape brigade are themselves outsiders too!
Had any of the baying residents taken the trouble to visit the property before or even during demolition they would have noted the virtual natural degradation of the wooden structure which was quite clearly not suitable for re-development. The same critics also lamented on the inappropriate new designs being permitted by SDC. Again, had the complainers taken the trouble to look at the plans submitted and other architects drawings it would have shown a very sympathetic replacement set of buildings with the main body of the house very similar to the property it was replacing. This can now clearly be seen as the structure is well on its way to completion. It is also interesting to note one of the objectors is also the owner of a past 'controversial' development known locally as the 'Rubber House'. When proposed there was an outcry 'not in keeping with the area' etc etc. It is also rumoured that the planning officer was moved sideways after agreeing to the rubber skin (a true of Condominium) erection. How true that was I don't know but sad if it were the case. At least someone recognised the importance of keeping Dungeness different.
The whole point about Dungeness is that EVERYTHING IS DIFFERENT and that is in part what makes the area unique. Years ago, when Dungeness was developed as a community we had railway carriages at one end and purpose built bungalows at the other. How greater contrast can you have? It is that contrast that has got to be preserved. Not so long ago there was an SDC planner who wanted all rebuilds/newbuilds to be clad in wood and painted black! My complaints to SDC at the time was that we did not want a twee little village of, in Pete Seegers words 'little boxes all made out of ticky tacky and all look the same'. Someone must have listened as my neighbour was refused planning permission for a shack with shiplap painted black as it was 'not in keeping with the area' I think planners have a lot to answer for but as with most local government officials there is little possibility for sensible discussion. On top of all that the Residents committee have now set up a sub committee to see through a 'village community'. And the electees are all NON permanent residents and, according to the newsletter with two of them being people 'who know about these things' . Frightening – if I knew what it all meant.
Keep Dungeness different – welcome the continuance of diverse structures and do not try and stop evolution.
A backdrop of two nuclear power stations, two lighthouses, a railway station, railway carriages, air raid shelters, purpose build bungalows, watch towers, plastic clad buildings, wooden clad shacks – HOW CAN ANYTHING BE CONSIDERED 'NOT IN KEEPING' OR INDEED ' IN KEEPING' with the area with such a diverse array already here.