Specialist team called in to work on historic building

A specialist architecture and building surveying team has been instructed by Devon County Council to oversee the restoration of a Grade II* listed gatehouse at Stover Country Park near Newton Abbot.

Stover Gatehouse, also known as the granite lodge, was built for Edward Adolphus Seymour, the eleventh Duke of Somerset, in 1833, and provided the new principle entrance to the estate.

The building sat at the top of  the recently re-routed mile and a half long carriage drive which led to the main house.

Seymour maintained Stover as his principle residence in the county and it remained in the family until the death of the grandson of the twelfth Duke of Somerset in 1927.

The Gatehouse fell into disrepair over the years, and in  2017 was placed on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register, due to water damage, masonry failure and vandalism. The original windows and doors were removed and blocked up in 1990. Some emergency works were undertaken in 2016/17, with metal security doors installed.

Now, thanks to funding from National Highways and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, a project is underway that will see the building restored to its former glory and its future protected.

Savills will be working on behalf of Devon County Council to complete the works specification, carry out surveys, discharge planning pre-commencement conditions, oversee the tendering process and manage the restoration project.

Adam Williams, a chartered building surveyor specialising in heritage assets, is joint leading the project on behalf of Savills Exeter.

He said: “I am thrilled to be working with Devon County Council on this exciting project. Recognised by Historic England as being a particularly important piece of our built heritage, Stover Gatehouse is a wonderful example of Georgian architecture, offering a clear insight into the park’s history and the development of the landscape.

“Our work will remove it from the ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register and create a new chapter for the building – providing the community with an opportunity to engage with the history of Stover Country Park. With the Gatehouse being a prominent feature along the Devon Expressway, seen by thousands who travel the road each day, it resonates with many as a landmark in their travels, as well as a piece of history.”

Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council cabinet member for climate change and environment, said: “It’s extremely welcome news to have Savills on board to manage this project on our behalf. The gatehouse is a key element of the Restoring Stover Park Project and it deserves to be given a new lease of life.

“Stover has a wonderful heritage alongside its stunning environment and it’s right that the gatehouse is conserved for future generations. I’m sure everyone will be keen to see this landmark restored later this year.”

Savills has begun work on the Stover Gatehouse project and will be commissioning the repair works to begin in July for completion by the end of September 2024.