Project Summary

  • Residential care home for adults with learning disabilities in Somerset village.
  • C18th, Grade II listed former manor house in landscaped setting.
  • New dedicated arts centre for on-site enrichment activities.
  • Community, heritage, landscape and arboricultural interests.

The Planning Process

East Court is a residential care home located on the edge of the village of Wookey.  Originally a single domestic country residence, it comprises a complex of buildings within extensive mature grounds including an orchard, walled garden and wild copse area. Converted in the late 1980’s, it houses permanent residents aswell as providing a day service for individuals living locally. Art is a fundamental part of life here, with a range of pottery, painting, weaving, fabric and CAD design activities available, and annual participation in Somerset Arts Week.

The proposals involved the creation of a dedicated stand-alone arts centre with the grounds, that would allow the Trust to extend the activities on offer and provide more group flexibility. A pre-application process with Mendip District Council discounted various locations for their proximity to the manor house or loss of historic fabric to the walled garden. Our final submission settled on a cedar-clad structure, immersed in the naturalised copse to the rear of the manor house – a lightweight foil to the solidity and grandeur of the Georgian estate.

This application argued the clear benefits of securing investment in the social, cultural and economic fabric of East Court, weighed against any less than substantial harm to the heritage assets in this instance – a fair balance of heritage and modern day concerns prevailed. It was our privilege to have been involved.