Traditional gates return to Winchelsea

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PLANS to rebuild the gateway that leads into Greyfriars from Monks Walk has been welcomed by Winchelsea residents.

The application is to replace imitation-stone gate posts, topped by large ball finials, and decorative wrought iron gates erected in 2007 when the entrance was widened.

The new gateway attracted a wave of criticism in the pages of the Observer, being variously described as “bedsteads” and “urban bling”.

It is now proposed to rebuild the original rustic gate pillars, which were made of local brick and capped with clay tiles.

The decision to revert to the original design and materials was prompted by the refusal of a retrospective planning application to reduce the height of the replacement gate pillars.

Rother’s Conservation Officer complained that this made the pillars look as though they had sunk into the ground. However, it was discovered that the gateway erected in 2007 had not anyway conformed to planning permission.

An application for the shortened pillars was then refused. The proposal to rebuild to the original design has just been submitted to Rother.

A spokesman for local conservation group, Winchelsea Heritage, which has been lobbying about the gates, expressed their delight: “Permission should never have been given for the original gateway to be replaced with a design and materials totally out of keeping with the location.

The proposal to restore the original gateway is a modest but nonetheless encouraging piece of news for the conservation of Winchelsea.”