Residents object to plans to open up Lamb House rooms

Lamb House SUS-150225-094033001
Lamb House SUS-150225-094033001

Residents have expressed concerns over a National Trust application to open up Lamb House to more visitors.

More than a dozen letters and online comments have been submitted objecting to the scheme – many raising concerns about what impact an increase in visitors could have on the area.

Andrew and Liz Bamji, the closest neighbours to Lamb House, in West Street, Rye, said: “We do not agree that the interests of local residents will be enhanced. The increased number of visitors, anticipated to reach 27,500, will have a significant impact on the peace and quiet of West Street and the wider Citadel. West Street is a residential area. The noise generated could be a nuisance to local residents.

“Parking without obstructing the road is only possible if vehicles are (illegally) parked on the pavement.

“Our house has sustained damage from a vehicle hitting the railings on our steps. We do not want further issues with vehicle impacts. We are also concerned that continued pavement parking will cause damage to the listed buildings which have shallow foundations.”

Phillip Barnes, general manager of the 18th centaury home, said: “Subject to planning permission, we hope to open Lamb House initially for four days a week, from June 2018 to the end of October 2018, between 11am and 5pm, and to open more rooms within the house to visitors. Currently, Lamb House is only open three days a week for seven months of the year and some of the rooms within the house haven’t been seen by visitors for over 50 years.

“Our plans include opening the first floor for the first time, allowing visitors to access Henry James’ winter writing room.

“Long term, there are plans for a community-led space for artist and writers’ studios on the top floor. We look forward to making these available to local residents. We hope these proposed changes will enhance the visitor experience of Lamb House as a major literary house and centre of world literature. The site is an accredited museum and the visit shall reflect this status with appropriate activity. We would like to reassure residents that the events we seek to host will be small events and would not go beyond 9pm in the evening.

“We understand there are some concerns about the proposed increase in opening hours and would very much like to work through these with the local community as we develop our plans. We held an open day in February this year with the local community and would welcome interested parties to get in touch at Sissinghurst@nationaltrust.org.uk if they have any questions or would like to help us shape the future of Lamb House.”

Planners are expected to make a decision on the application on April 20, 2018.

Written by Alex Holmes