Cadlington House, Blendworth

Bryan Jezeph Consultancy is pleased to announce that the practice has received two awards from the Royal Town Planning Institute (South East Region) for a scheme that the practice steered through the complex planning procedures known as “enabling development”.

The development proposed the refurbishment of Cadlington House which is a Grade II Listed Building and the restoration of other former estate buildings within its setting, together with the construction of two new dwellings. The objective of “enabling development” is to generate sufficient value to finance restoration works. In this case the enabling development was to secure the future of Cadlington House. The House is situated in the countryside but it is also a significant attribute to the Blendworth Conservation Area.

The first part of Cadlington House was completed in 1831. However two significant further extensions were built over the next few decades.

In 1937 the House was purchased by Rear Admiral Arthur John Murray and his wife Mrs Murray, the daughter of the Rev. W. A. Spooner who was famous for transposing the consonants of words creating amusing ambiguity. These became known as “spoonerisms”. John Murray died in 1956 and in 1976 his widow requested that Cadlington House was offered to MENCAP at a ‘reasonable market value’. The Magpie television programme raised £50,000 by an appeal towards the purchase of Cadlington House.

Mencap converted the House into a residential home for children with mental health problems in 1978. Continuous maintenance issues of the building were a financial burden. By the year 2000 further expenditure was needed for the Home to comply with emerging government guidance on care homes and the decision was made to develop a purpose built Home in Havant.

Mencap offered the property on the market but this failed to find a buyer willing to take the risk of achieving planning permission for a new use. A local developer, Kim O’Brien of C.K. Estates, kept in touch with the discussions and finally decided to make an unconditional bid in 2006.

A team of consultants was instructed and the development proposals were formulated by Huw Thomas Associates, Architects based in Winchester. Huw Thomas based his scheme on the historic development of the House which took place in three stages. This involved the removal of all of the internal partitions that had been created to form the 22 bedrooms that Mencap provided.

It was agreed with the local planning authority, East Hampshire District Council that two existing buildings could be converted to small houses. It was also agreed that the former office building should be replaced with a new house and that the former “greenhouse” was to be converted to a further house. Finally, two new houses were agreed: one in the form of a ‘roman’ villa was permitted within the walled garden and the other as barn style dwelling on the site of former farm buildings.

As an ‘enabling development’ it was essential to follow the principles established by English Heritage which involved the most detailed calculations of the costs of the works which involved Quantity Surveyors and Structural Engineers among the many others that contributed to the proposals. The objective was to satisfy the local planning authority that the form of development ensured the restoration and future of the House and its settings whilst providing a realistic profit. The works commenced in the teeth of the recession and its successful implementation must be attributed to the resilience and perseverance of Kim O’Brien.

The judges of the Royal Town Planning Institute were particularly impressed by the attention to detail of both the external and internal works. Special mention was made of the skill of the workmen to match the brickwork and galleting. Galletting comes from a French word and involves the insertion of small pieces of stone, in this case flint, into the mortar while it is still soft.

This is the third successful ‘enabling development’ that Huw Thomas Associates and Bryan Jezeph Consultancy have worked on together. Previous schemes include Landford Manor near Salisbury where four new houses were approved within the walled garden of a Grade II* House to fund its restoration and at Posbrooke Farm in Fareham where ten houses were permitted to fund the restoration of a Grade II* Tythe Barn.