The Wildernesse Estate
Sevenoaks Kent

Wildernesse Estate
Road Trustees & Conservation Area

Road Trustees

Each of the 3 private roads has a group of Trustees (3 or 4 residents from the road in each case) who are successors in title to a conveyance, which gives them ownership of the road and verges, held on behalf of the owners all the contiguous properties. Wildernesse Avenue was conveyed to the original Trustees in 1934, Woodland Rise and Parkfield in 1971

The responsibilities of the Trustees are broadly similar in each case, namely for the maintenance of the roads, road signs, gates (where fitted), verges and trees, lampposts and lanterns (the local council are responsible for the maintenance of electricity supply, timers and light bulbs) and public liability insurance. The local council are responsible for the maintenance of electricity supply. There are some differences in detail, particularly in the method by which the annual levies are raised, and in the style which each group of Trustees operates.

Wildernesse Avenue and Seal Drive

The Trustees of Wildernesse Avenue and Seal Drive are the owners of, and are responsible for, the maintenance of the road and verges. Over 300 trees line the verges of the two roads, 180 of them are the historic "Waterloo Limes", all of which are the responsibility of the Trustees.

An Annual Levy is set to pay for the upkeep of the roads and verges. In addition, a Construction Levy is payable for building projects over a defined cost, to assist with the cost of repairing subsequent damage and maintaining the roads. Contractors are required to follow a Code of Conduct to minimise disruption to other households and road users.

Road fund accounts are prepared and circulated to Residents each year. At the Annual General Meeting, to which all Residents are invited, the Road Fund accounts and other matters are discussed.

Woodland Rise

In addition to the normal maintenance of the road, etc, the Trustees are responsible for the care of the old Spanish chestnut trees, referred to in the History Section. Road fund accounts are prepared and circulated to Residents each year and contributions to cost collected from the Residents annually. Originally this was on the foot frontage basis, but as in Wildernesse Avenue the change was made to a uniform levy for each property plus a contribution from the former Dorton House. From time to time the Trustees arrange meetings of the Residents to discuss matters of mutual interest relating to the road.


As well as the normal maintenance of the road etc, the Trustees arrange for the maintenance of the verges and trees at either end of the road where no house has a frontage onto Parkfield.

The Chairman of the Trustees circulates a short report with the annual accounts and a Residents meeting is held every 2 or 3 years. An annual levy is set, as well as a levy and works supervision deposit is payable for building projects over a certain amount, to recover costs for damage repairs and build up the balance towards the cost of periodic maintenance of the road.

Residents tend to look to the Trustees for a lead on any relevant planning matters.

Seal Hollow Road and Blackhall Lane

Though not private roads, the parts of Seal Hollow Road in Blackhall Lane, which border the Wildernesse Estate, come within it. As such, they have a vital role to play in maintaining the integrity of the Estate. Each road has two representatives on the Wildernesse Residents Association Executive Committee, who ensure the residents views, ideas and concerns are aired.

The Wildernesse Conservation Area

The Wildernesse Conservation Area was re-designated in January 1998 and covers the vast majority of the Wildernesse Estate with certain exceptions along Seal Hollow Road (see plan). A Conservation Area is defined as an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. Key elements in achieving this status were the large number of architecturally important houses, the overall layout of the Estate, the woodland nature with important and ancient trees and the abundance and variety of birds and other wildlife that are shown to be present. The Wildernesse Estates' designation represents a very important advance in the protection of the Sevenoaks environs.

Conservation Area status is not designed to stop all future development or extensions etc, of properties, but rather to prevent inappropriate development and alterations. One main effect is to prevent demolition of buildings or even small parts of a building without formal planning consent and similarly to prevent the felling of trees without 6 weeks notice being given. Planning application for new developments are looked at in a more critical light and should be of a standard, which preserves or enhances the character of the Conservation Area and there must be full applications rather than outline. The District Council also has a duty from time to time to formulate and publish proposals for preserving and enhancing the area. The following paragraphs are necessarily only a brief summary of the controls governing the Conservation Area.

As well as demolition or partial demolition of any building larger than 115m cubed, there are also specific criteria governing walls, fences, railings, etc. for which planning consent is required prior to demolition. The permitted development rights of houses within the Conservation Area are also more restrictive, and in particular any extension greater than 50m cubed, the cladding of any part of the exterior, new dormer windows, roof additions or alterations affecting its shape, the installation of a satellite dish either over 15m high or fronting the road, tennis courts surround higher than 2m (1m in front of the house) and tennis court lighting higher than 3m (or below this height in certain cases), all require planning permission

Trees in the Conservation Area are protected unless they are less than 7.5cm in diameter (at a height of 1.5m) or less than 10cm in diameter if this assists other trees to grow. Written notification of any relevant tree work must be given to the District Council who have 6 weeks in which to consider the proposal, during which time no work must be done. More restrictive controls apply to trees covered by a tree preservation order.

As there is no countrywide uniformity in the application of Conservation Area controls, before embarking on any work, residents are advised to obtain the District Councils leaflet on Conservation Areas, to check with the Council's Planning Department and to employ an architect with suitable Conservation Area experience, if appropriate

In addition to Conservation Area considerations, the Residents Association is also very keen to ensure that any alterations or developments are in keeping with the spacious character and amenities of the Estate and that they respect the interest of neighbours, for example, by not impinging on unscreened boundaries or overlooking adjacent gardens with the introduction of windows either with a different aspect or at a higher level, and that the noise impact from leisure facilities (tennis, swimming etc.) Is minimised as far as possible

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