Fears about new owners


Offered for sale last August 2015 at £1.5 million, as reported in Rye News, the Dungeness Estate has now been sold to EDF Energy which runs the adjacent Dungeness B nuclear power station. EDF has pledged its commitment to “conserving and enhancing the special wildlife of this unique habitat” whilst managing the large numbers of visitors who come every year by car and by the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway.

It will be assisted in this by other interested organisations such as the Romney Marsh Countryside Partnership, Natural England, Dungeness RSPB and the Dungeness Bird Observatory.

The 468 acre site comprises a nature reserve of international importance having a number of conservation designations such as SSSI (site of special scientific interest), SPA (special protection area because of its bird migration interest) and Dungeness Special Conservation Area.

The bleak beauty of the shoreline and the strange somewhat eerie atmosphere of the shingle-bank interior – so like a film set – are not what predominantly draw the visitors. They come to see Derek Jarman’s  famous garden and enjoy the mouth-watering fish and chips and other offerings at the nearby Pilot pub, at the Britannia inn and the newly extended and refurbished station restaurant.

Those who remember Dungeness from the past with its fishermen’s cottages and humble homes made from converted railway carriages may be shocked at the upmarket dwellings erected in recent years as gentrification gathers pace. Architect-designed square khaki-painted block houses have been built to reflect in the vernacular the colour and bulk of the power station.

Fears are expressed locally that a wild and remote landscape is being tamed by commercialisation – and more is inevitable. How will the once strict planning regime be modified and managed by the new owners? Martin Pearson, station director at Dungeness B said: “we want to reassure the community that it is our intention to be a responsible owner of the land”.

EDF invites questions about the Estate and has set up a dedicated email address: dungenessbcommunity@edf-energy.com. The Dungeness Visitor Centre is open Monday-Friday, 9am to 4pm.

[Editor’s note : A prospective buyer understood before the sale that the new owners would have no control at all over what could be built/changed as it was all officially protected. This limited EDF’s ability to commercialise it and it seems likely they just want to secure the land (and shale) around their power station.”

Photo: Strutt& Parker/BNPS

Image Credits: Strutt and Parker .

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  1. As a resident, think that they are the best possible local owner, apart from a charity like the RSPB. Commercialisation usually follows when an owner overstretched themself and needs to sweat an asset to make money to keep a business alive. In this instance, I do not think they need the money!

    I hope they are able to invest too. More speed signs and a drone with a laser to zap those who speed would be useful.


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