Castle Hill Farm - Update
25th April 2018
We are doing some work to tidy the place up and are proceeding with the refurbishment of the listed cottages this year.
The remaining development site though, to be candid has just created issue after issue. Following our planning application judgement, we have done some extensive work on the site and invested time and money into quantity surveying and a supplier tender to find that the cost of the work is hugely prohibitive, to the extent where we would lose circa £1m as a result of undertaking such work.
As you know our work is intended to generate funds to pay for medical research, not prevent funds going into the same and when faced with the decision, I had to recommend that we spent money on tidying the site and cleaning the place up, dealing with the listed cottages and parking the rest to deal with at a later stage.
We have yet to have a discussion with the planners, but within the permission we have and the confines of the planning policy there isn’t a huge amount we can do beyond that. As I stated to the parish council. when we have met on a number of occasions, we set out to deliver what we can and rather than create concern locally by changing our minds and appealing the planning to create something we didn’t intend. So we have stopped. But this is only a decision taken in the last few weeks.
It isn’t a stop and never revisit, but how we deal with the historic underinvestment on sites like Castle Hill will be quite a challenge though that needs some thought and time.
I’ve been quite tied up for a few months now with our transition away from operational farming, but hopefully this should settle down by mid/late May and I can turn my attention to some outstanding property matters, which will include a revisit of Castle Hill.
As I am sure you are aware we are progressing with the extensive work to prepare for the mineral extraction planning application, which we plan on submitting by late 2018.
In terms of the impact locally as a result of operational farming moving to a contractor, in simple terms you shouldn’t see any change – It will be James and the current team who continue to undertake the farming and an agent manage the contractor accordingly. We still intend on managing the estate and improving the housing stock/appearance as we have done now for a few years, with the objective that we can deliver shared benefits over time.