Leonardslee Opening - Planning Permission Update

Delays to re-opening of the estate.

We strive to keep all our valued Members and very many friends and supporters up to date on what is happening at Leonardslee so that you know the current situation, in this major project, to get the estate ready for the long-anticipated opening.

The reason for the delay has been that we have not received planning consent for some of the essential works required to open the gardens. Unfortunately, the situation has moved very slowly.

You may have read of the issues that have arisen because of the detection of newts and bats on site. We have had to wait for them to move, in compliance with the wildlife protection regulations, so that we could then get permission to complete essential building works.

These include building a new car park and ticket office, which we have had to rebuild as the facilities we inherited were not ‘fit for purpose’, according to current regulations and practical requirements.

The issue of the presence of the protected species is now resolved. But still we await agreement by Horsham District Council. No decision has been made regarding our planning application, which was first lodged with Horsham District Council back in February 2018.

Without the necessary consents we cannot complete the works that we need to open the gardens to the public. The winter weather will soon be upon us which may hamper building progress.

We are now concerned about the viability of the proposed opening date of March 2019.

The delay in the opening is very disappointing for all our supporters. For registered Members and others who have bought vouchers, we can only repeat that we have committed to offering a refund in full if you require it.

This has all been deeply disappointing for us and for all our team - to put it very mildly. Restoring and updating the Grade I listed gardens and the Grade II listed Mansion is a very considerable task but we will succeed.

One day, as soon as possible, we will open our gates and will welcome you to this unique location. We would only ask for your continued patience and support and we promise to keep you updated with news as soon as we possibly can.

Emily Grey