Talks to find future for historic farmhouse ravaged by fire
Local democracy reporter Daniel Clark
- Credit: Submitted
Discussions continue to be held over the future of Cranbrook’s most historic building after it was severely damaged in an arson attack more than five years ago.
The Tillhouse Farmhouse, a Grade II listed building, was left severely fire damaged in December 2015 when arsonists struck. The crime remains unsolved.
Since then and while the long term future of the building is decided, East Devon District Council have required the New Community partners who own the building to implement measures that minimise further deterioration.
These most recent works also involved the building being cleared of rubble and residue from the fire and allowed a better understanding of the condition of the building to be gained.
The former farmhouse building is currently boarded up to prevent entry and for safety reasons, and while the owners of the site recognise the importance of what is the only listed building in the new town, no firm decisions over its future have been reached.
A spokesman for East Devon District Council said: “Both East Devon District Council and the owners of the site recognise the importance of bringing the farmhouse and the surrounding complex of agricultural buildings back into a suitable use, in the interests of the appearance of the area and in the role the site plays in the history of the town.
“With Tillhouse Farmhouse being the only listed house in Cranbrook, discussions are being held between the owners, ourselves and Historic England to agree a way forward for this site.”
Tillhouse had traditionally been used as a farm, but the final tenants left in 2005, prior to the construction work beginning on the new town.
Following the fire in December 2015, East Devon carried out urgent works on the 15th century property in hopes of preserving the remainder of the building, with previous discussions having taken place as to whether the listed building should be restored to its original condition or if could be delisted if the costs of repairs was too high.