There can be no hope for Pinehill

Any consultation, speculation or expectation regarding Pinehill and Mount St Denis Care Homes on The Ridge at the top of St Helen’s Down, is a waste of time.

Both properties were marked as housing development land in the previous town plan and are designated as such in the new plan.

Therefore, as both houses are to be demolished it is obvious that all service users and residents must be relocated elsewhere!

While Pinehill and the adjoining St Denis look ugly and so not worth preserving from the front, most people are unaware that at the back, viewed from the top of St Helen’s Down, is still to be seen almost the last survivor of the stately Victorian residences that once lined The Ridge.

Pinehill, behind its frontage of modern add-ons, is a splendid Italianate villa, rather in the style of the burnt-down Ledsham Court (now Hastings Court).

It is sad that soon all the central Ridge will quite overwhelmed with blocks of flats and densely-packed houses, all spewing yet more traffic onto the already over-burdened Ridge. Those concerned all hoped that at least the original houses could be converted into flats, even if their grounds were used as housing developments.

But in recent years Hurst Court, Ledsham Court and Lennox House, to name but three of many, have all vanished. So there can be no hope for Pinehill.

But one can hope that the beautiful tree-topped stone-walled bank on the corner of the property with its enchanting cover of primroses every spring, is preserved. Though from past experience of developers’ handling of other Ridge properties, it is all too likely that a JCB will rip the primroses up and one of the last ‘make-you-smile’ features of The Ridge will be gone forever.

Erica Barrett



Pilot Field Area Residents’ Association

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