Brandy Head at risk of collapse unless restoration work approved

PUBLISHED: 14:17 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:17 11 July 2019

Sam Walker (left) and architect Doug Millar. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

Sam Walker (left) and architect Doug Millar. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

Archant

An iconic former World War Two observation post could collapse after years of neglect if proposals to restore it are not approved.

Brandy Head. Picture: Daniel WilkinsBrandy Head. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

A planning application to create holiday accommodation at Brandy Head is being made to preserve the building which has fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years.

The proposal has drawn opposition from residents who have raised concerns about the loss of World War Two heritage and the precedent the application would set for holiday homes in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

In recent years, the former observation post has become a target for vandalism and applicant Sam Walker says a failure to do something with the building would mean losing it forever.

He said: "It was in a bad shape and everyone we spoke to said if we don't do something, it's only going to go one way - the building will collapse.

What the inside of building could look like. Picture: MRM Design StudioWhat the inside of building could look like. Picture: MRM Design Studio

"People rightly love to sit here and there is no suggestion that is going to change.

"This is part of the South West Coastal Path. People come and use it as a point of interest."

Brandy Point was used during World War Two to test aircraft-mounted cannon and gun sights.

Spitfires, Typhoons and Hurricanes would fly over head from Exeter and test weapons on targets in the bay while the post itself served as an observation point.

An artist impression of how Brandy Head could look after the restoration. Picture: MRM Design StudioAn artist impression of how Brandy Head could look after the restoration. Picture: MRM Design Studio

The building still features a blast wall to the rear of the site.

Mr Walker, who is a tenant farmer at Stantyway Farm where Brandy Head is based, said he wants the building to become accommodation for walkers and nature adventurers - but is open to ideas such as staging World War Two exhibitions.

He said: "We could have an exhibition with the airfields heritage trust about the building's history.

"That could be cleared out of the way and we could do something to commemorate the village's (Otterton) VE day celebrations.

The blast wall from the buildings World War Two. Picture: Daniel WilkinsThe blast wall from the buildings World War Two. Picture: Daniel Wilkins

"But none of this is going to happen if this building stays as a derelict wreck - it's only just going to fall down which is really sad."

East Devon District Council will make the final decision on the application.

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