THE PROPERTY developer who owns Seacourt in Swanage has spoken of his plans to restore the Victorian villa once an acceptable planning scheme is given the go-ahead.

Seacourt in Taunton Road was recently the subject of a planning inquiry with a government inspector refusing two appeals to build a block of flats in its back garden with the villa itself turned into flats.

Local residents feared the proposed block of flats with balconies would look like Crystal Palace staring down at them and the planning inspector's refusal was on the grounds of overlooking.

The developer, Paul Weston of Studland Properties Ltd, is working on a new application which he says will take account of points raised by the planning inspector.

He said: "We have always wanted to save Seacourt - it is a building that is falling into disrepair and needs attention. There is no dispute over turning Seacourt into flats but we will try to resolve the issue of overlooking by devising an alternative scheme."

He said: "So far we have been portrayed as insensitive developers who are simply out to make money - but we are sensitive developers looking to restore Seacourt.

"The site behind Seacourt, if you look at government guidelines, is a development site and that has been accepted by a government inspector twice now.

"It's a question of getting something in there that is sensitive and fits in with the area."

He also said: "With any new development we recognise the residents have the right to object and we acknowledge and respect that. We are trying to put in a scheme that is sensitive to the area that satisfies more people."

Seacourt was designed in 1884 by Charles T Miles, the same architect who designed Westbourne Library and several other listed buildings, though Seacourt is not a listed building.

First published: August 23, 2005