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A new roof for the Palace Tower

Some repair work was carried out on the North-West Tower of Otford Palace in 1982.  The minutes of Otford Parish Council give a partial account of events from November 1980 to the end of 1982, but omit various details that would be of considerable interest.

It appears that the parapet was in a dangerous condition and part of the brickwork on the upper part of the Tower had developed an outward curve.  A Technical Services Officer from SDC inspected the Tower in early 1981 and confirmed that “if left the Tower would be in imminent danger of collapse” and “failing the necessary repairs being carried out the Tower would be unsafe to a degree that footpath [SR40] would have to be closed to the public by next winter.”  David Prestage, who was a councillor at the time, recalls work being carried out on the roof.

A specification of the work to be undertaken was approved by the Department of the Environment in the Autumn of 1981 and the work was carried out in the spring of 1982.  It is not clear whether this approval constituted ‘Scheduled Monument Consent.’ There is no record in the Parish Council minutes of Planning Approval being sought or granted.  It may be that since the Palace was owned by Sevenoaks District Council, no planning approval was required.

You can read the Parish Council minutes relating to this work here.

Thus far, we have been unable to discover a copy of the specification for the works, or the name of the contractor who undertook the work.  The research is continuing.