Stevenage’s Fairlands Farmhouse listed as asset of community value

PUBLISHED: 07:02 05 October 2017

Fairlands Farmhouse in Fairlands Valley Park, Stevenage. Picture: Nick Gill

Fairlands Farmhouse in Fairlands Valley Park, Stevenage. Picture: Nick Gill

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A Grade II-listed 17th century farmhouse which has been empty since last year has been listed as an asset of community value.

Painting by George Oldfield of the farmhouse, 1804. Painting by George Oldfield of the farmhouse, 1804.

Fairlands Farmhouse in Stevenage’s Fairlands Valley Park had been leased to Digswell Arts Trust since 1993, but the artists moved out in November.

Last month, the Comet reported how the building, which is owned by Stevenage Borough Council, has fallen into a state of disrepair over a number of years.

One artist said it was the state of the building which forced Digswell Arts Trust to vacate the property.

In 2008 and 2011 the farmhouse was marketed for sale for pub/restaurant use after the council said it took account of the fact that a significant level of expenditure would be required to bring the property into acceptable condition.

The farm barns and farmhouse in 1972. Picture: Stevenage Museum. The farm barns and farmhouse in 1972. Picture: Stevenage Museum.

Digswell Arts Trust was given notice to quit but the property remained unsold.

Now, the borough council has listed the farmhouse as an asset of community value, which means community groups can have six months to raise the funds to buy the property if it is approved for disposal.

A spokesman for the borough council said: “Fairlands Farmhouse has an important role in the history of Stevenage and we are keen for it to be part of the town’s future. Although the building is currently empty, we are continuing to investigate options to bring it back into use.

“In response to interest from local community organisations, the council has this week registered the farmhouse as an asset of community value. This means that local groups are now welcome to develop and submit proposals to use the property. Their initial expressions need to be shared with us within the next six weeks, and they then have up to six months to present viable and deliverable proposals for consideration.

The farm barns in February 1973,  prior to demolition. Picture: Stevenage Museum. The farm barns in February 1973, prior to demolition. Picture: Stevenage Museum.

“We will provide further details about the likely future of the farmhouse once the deadline for applications has passed.”

Last month, Councillor Joan Lloyd, SBC’s executive member for resources, said: “The farmhouse has huge potential. We hope to provide a facility that will benefit the local community and bring the farmhouse back to life.”

* If you are interested in submitting a proposal to use the farmhouse, we would like to hear from you. Email news@thecomet.net

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