Folly Farm, South Side: 1906 Wing

The Lutyens Trust Photographic Archive


Summer 2010

From November 2009 to January 2010, casework was dominated by the Brightenber Wind Farm Public Enquiry. Following the Trust’s 0bjection in 2008, the Refusal of the Application by Craven District Council against officer recommendation, and subsequent Appeal by Energie Kontor, I was fully occupied in preparing and presenting the Trust’s fundamental objection to the development, which had it been allowed would have brought five 100 m. high wind turbines (less than 2 km distant) into the sweeping view from the portico of Gledstone Hall, its West and East Lodges, and its registered historic northern parkland. It was necessary for the Trust to mount a full case at the hearings, held in Skipton, which lasted seven days, in the depths of an abominable winter. Due to the fact that the proposed site was outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park, although visible from inside it, the site was considered acceptable in principle, although there were several ‘heritage assets’ as they are now termed which would have been affected, the principal one being the Grade II* listed Gledstone Hall, which was expressly mentioned in one of the reasons for refusal of the application.

The Inspector dismissed the appeal, primarily for its unacceptably detrimental impact on the residents of nearby Ash Tree Farm, but he also accepted that harmful impact on the setting of Gledstone Hall was entailed. Hopefully, Gledstone Hall will now continue to retain its view towards the upland moors of the National Park unencumbered.

This was by far the most important and intensive casework I have undertaken on behalf of the Trust, during 25 years as Architectural Adviser. I believe that the exceptional intensity of my involvement, was necessary ‘to protect and promote the spirit and substance of the work of Sir Edwin Lutyens’.

Among other casework since Autumn 2009, Folly Farm is progressing slowly but surely. A large amount of asbestos had to be removed (and given its location it could only have been installed under specification by EL himself). The removal of later subdivisions in the Dining Room of the 1912 wing brought to light valuable evidence of the great fireplace – enough to allow authentic restoration. The first floor openings in the central living hall of the 1906 house have been opened up to await reinstatement of the chinoiserie balconies. I met the architect Michael Edwards and made a full, and exciting inspection of work in progress in mid-December, and will continue to monitor the contract. Involvement of the Trust was a welcome condition of the Listed Building Consent granted by West Berkshire District Council. Michael has deservedly received a design award from Waverley Council for his restoration and extension of Sullingstead.

Westminster City Council has recently proposed a conservation area around the Page Street flats, designed by EL and built in 1928. These fine buildings with their ‘chequerboard’ panels of light and dark stone are already listed. In responding to the Council’s consultation, I expressed a hope that the new status of their surroundings will encourage more sensitive treatment.

Dr Mervyn Miller