The Tottenham House stable block to be renovated - at last
The new owners of Tottenham House are applying for planning consent to begin a programme of renovations on the Grade Two Star listed stable block.
Marlborough News Online learnt in October last year that the new owner, understood to be Conservative Party donor and multi-millionaire property developer Jamie Ritblat, was in discussion about the stables with Historic England and with Wiltshire Council.
The Council is responsible for making sure Listed Buildings do not deteriorate or are subject to inappropriate alterations and conversions. And at present the stables are on Historic England's Heritage at Risk register.
An expert assessment submitted to Wiltshire Council concludes: "To do nothing is not an option. To save the building its structure needs to be repaired and made weather tight, urgently."
The applicant is Skyline Construction Limited acting through its agents Rural Solutions of Skipton, North Yorkshire. The thirty-nine page schedule of work gives a clear indication of the extraordinary amount to be done to preserve the stables and bring them back to life - both structurally and in architectural details.
There is a clear hint in the schedule that these works will be the start of widescale restoration of Tottenham House itself and its surrounding estate: "Interiors – like-for-like restoration will be phased to allow this building to be used as a site office for the estate and house during the restoration works."
The application says: "The stables are currently in a very dilapidated condition, with much damage to the internal and external fabric." This is blamed on: "...theft of leadwork at roof level, long periods of inoccupation and a non-existent programme of routine maintenance."
The two photographs from summer 2014 show the state the stable block had fallen into. Built in 1816, the block includes paired doors to eight carriage houses and contains very early examples of loose boxes for horses which began to replace stalls in the early nineteenth century.
The stables were the first part of work by Thomas Cundy to remodel Tottenham House as a large neo-classical mansion. Tottenham House had been built to Lord Burlington's designs a century earlier.
The planning application adds that apart from its 'perilous condition', "...the building was subject to alteration post 1950s which resulted in many unsatisfactory and unsympathetic openings and internal alterations."
"It is envisaged that the proposals will return the stables largely to their original design externally, with the removal of the mid-20th Century alterations and full restoration of the fabric. This will not only return the building to practical use, but will hopefully remove it from the Listed Buildings at Risk register."