Fears Grade II-listed Stevenage farmhouse at town beauty spot ‘could be sold to pub/restaurant chain’
- Credit: Archant
There’s a shadow over the future of a Grade II-listed 17th century farmhouse in a Stevenage beauty spot, with fears it could be sold off to a pub/restaurant chain.
Fairlands Valley Farmhouse in Fairlands Valley Park is owned by Stevenage Borough Council but has been leased to Digswell Arts Trust since 1993.
A large majority of the artists’ work is centred on the community and building links with it and, as well as working with schools and pensioners, they also run workshops for adults with learning difficulties.
There is now concern the artists could face being evicted from their studios at the park.
An anonymous source told the Comet: “The farmhouse at Fairlands Valley Park is being sold off to a pub/restaurant chain. The artists have been told they should not mention it to anyone.
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“I am shocked such a famous part of the town’s heritage is being sold off without the people of Stevenage being informed.
“There is also an ancient tree on the site which I believe has a protection order on it.
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“The artists have been shown plans by the pub/restaurant chain who are buying the farmhouse and surveyors have been checking the house over.
“I believe this is a subject that requires total transparency by the council.”
It is not the first time the farmhouse has been considered for pub or restaurant use. In 2008, the borough council’s executive decided to sell the property because it would cost too much money to bring it up to an acceptable condition.
They felt a pub or restaurant would be a valuable facility within the park, but the property remained unsold and was put on the market again in 2011.
A council spokesman said: “We are currently considering the future of the farmhouse, which is a listed building and needs to be protected, but no decision has yet been made. If it involves a sale we will consult with the community.
“The farmhouse was previously marketed for sale in 2008 and 2011 on the basis of inviting informal tenders, but we did not proceed with a sale on either occasion.”