The Sargeant Family acquired St Osyth Priory in 1999 with the aim of bringing this property into reuse, functioning as a working Estate once more. The main property on this site dates back to 1120, when the priory was first founded and was home to the Austin Canons for over 80 years, later becoming an Abbey until its dissolution in 1553.
With such long history, it is an important historic site. It is also a site that has ancient trees that date back to the mid-16th Century and a natural environment with valuable habitats and protected species. The redevelopment plans for the property therefore had to be approached with high levels of sensitivity and care whilst also taking steps to reduce the property’s Conservation Deficit, valued at £39 million at the outset. By the end of 2018, the Conservation Deficit was forecasted to have reduced to £18 million.
In 2015, this first public inquiry was allowed, enabling the Estate to press ahead with its redevelopment and restoration plans. Work commenced in 2016 and a second public inquiry was also commenced.
Baker Consultants provided ecological input to the Public Inquiry and Appeals for this site, addressing the potential impacts of the scheme and recommending mitigation measures that would allow the development proposals to be sustainably delivered. This enabled vital restoration works on the historic group of 16 listed Priory buildings.
Protected species, valuable habitats and a Local Wildlife Site were protected, and potential effects on the Colne Estuary Special Protection Area, and Essex Estuaries Special Area of Conservation, were avoided.
To help with attracting grant funding for the restoration costs of the site, the St Osyth Priory & Parish Trust was formed in 2016, with Trustees that include Helen Moore of City & Country, Tim Sargeant representing the family, and George Clarke, presenter of Restoration Man on Channel 4.
The dwellings on this site have now been offered for sale, and here Trustee George Clark gives a tour of this beautiful complex that has been redeveloped sensitively to its traditional building style as well as sensitively for the biodiversity interest of the site.
If you need help with your site at any point in the planning phase, then please get in touch with us via our contact form on the website, call us on +44 (0)1629 593958 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.