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Plans to build bungalows on 'Capability' Brown garden meet with storm of protest

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Controversial plans to build six bungalows at Croome Court in Worcestershire - 'Capability' Brown's first major garden - have been met with a wall of objections.

Designed by Birmingham-based practice the Lapworth Partnership, the scheme threatens part of the walled kitchen garden in the grounds of the grade-II listed mansion.

The proposals have been slammed by a wave of protestors, including the Georgian Society and the National Trust, which has ploughed more than £3.5 million during the last 10 years into restoring the surrounding parkland.

According to landscape expert Hal Moggridge, the gardens, built over a 50-year period from 1751, are 'immensely important to the history of European design'. Together with Croome Park, the gardens are viewed as the first example of the English Landscape Movement and were the first to be completed by Brown as an independent consultant.

The estate, developed for the landowner Lord Coventry, also features work by the young Robert Adam.

Describing the gardens, Moggridge said: 'Because one family occupied the mansion until around 50 years ago, they remain complete and historically very interesting.

'The walled kitchen garden is an important part of the whole. Retention [of the garden] is as essential to a full understanding of Croome as every other part of the composition- to allow part of the kitchen garden to be remodelled by such anomalies as six modern bungalows would diminish the integrity of the whole.'

It is understood that Malvern Hills District Council has not yet set a planning committee date for the application, having agreed to a request by English Heritage to extend the consultation period beyond the usual eight weeks.

by Richard Waite

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