Wotton House, Dorking, Surrey

Landscape Planning and Expert Witness

Historic Landscape Survey and Expert Landscape Witness at Planning Inquiry

Since 1579 Wotton House, near Dorking, has been owned by the Evelyn family. In 1640 George Evelyn created an Italian garden around the house to the designs of his brother John Evelyn, the eminent garden designer, writer and diarist. These formal gardens survived intact until the mid 18th century. Despite modification by later generations, much of the structure of the original garden remains recognizable in the present day, albeit that they became largely derelict towards the end of the 20th century. The gardens are registered Grade II*

We were commissioned to carry out a detailed survey of the historic landscape, including a review of the extensive archive of Evelyn family papers and inspection of the surviving structures and garden archaeology. In addition, we carried out an assessment of the suitability of a development scheme to convert the building into a five star hotel complex. Our work focused upon the impact that these proposals might have on the historic designed landscape.

We prepared and successfully presented evidence at a Public Inquiry to consider the scheme. We also prepared a ten year management plan for the site along with the detailed hard & soft landscape proposals which were implemented as part of the overall development scheme.