Children’s play barn at Waylands Farm near Westerham, Kent
Preferred Partner Involvement
Both Planning and Architecture teams were involved in this unique project in Tandridge District which involved the demolition of zoo buildings in order to erect a children’s play barn with associated café and storage inside. After the expiration of a zoo license granted in 1985, the animal enclosures on site had fallen into disrepair and something needed to be done for the site to be restored as an enjoyable leisure space, and thus WS was contacted to unlock the potential of the land. The site is located north of the M25, between Oxted and Westerham in the Metropolitan Green Belt and within an Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV), which add constraints on development through policy and can make it much harder to achieve permissions. It is for these reasons that advice from the Council was sought through the pre-application process.
During the pre-application process, WS were advised that the materials and exterior finish of the proposed barn should match that of another, existing barn on site and that consideration should be given to the restoration of the landscape to respect the Green Belt and AGLV setting. The Council were happy that the principle of the proposed development was acceptable. Most forms of development within the Green Belt are considered ‘inappropriate’, but this project included the demolition of 18 different buildings to give rise to just one, much larger building, which was deemed by the Council as ‘not inappropriate’.