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broomfield house thumbnailEnfield Council has just posted on its website a comprehensive set of documents prepared for the Broomfield House Partnership Boards’ [1] consideration of the future of the House [2] and Stableyard. These can be read as they stand, but in order to better understand these papers, it might be helpful to summarise how we got here.

broomfield house conservation management plan coverAs well as the House, the Conservation Management Plan considers the Stables and the Park as a wholeRecent Plans

A number of earlier plans proposed by Enfield and/or community groups have for one reason or another not succeeded. The most recent plan was the 2012 joint Council-Broomfield House Trust/Friends of Broomfield Park working group bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the rebuilding of the House. Regrettably, the HLF told us in 2013 that were unable to agree to provide the almost £5m bid on a basis that this was a traditional Heritage project, which was risky given the extent of the damage and, in practice, was not in their view of national significance warranting a £5m grant.

Heritage Enterprise Programme

Given this, Enfield Council in conjunction with Historic England and the HLF determined that an approach to the HLF under its relatively new Heritage Enterprise Programme should be explored for both the House and stableyard (an almost equal priority for the Trust). Any scheme to rebuild and reopen Broomfield House would have to raise the capital costs and cover future running costs. The Enterprise Programme is designed for properties such as Broomfield House where traditional heritage fund raising has not succeeded, and under which enabling commercial involvement has to be secured before the HLF bid is made. Commercial involvement in such a heritage property would normally be unacceptable in planning terms, but for the fact that it brings sufficient public benefits which could not otherwise be achieved. The key element is usually securing the long-term future of the asset. The HLF contribution is intended to cover what is described as the “conservation deficit”, which is defined as the amount by which the cost of repair exceeds its market value on completion.

This latest approach starts with the creation of a Conservation Management Plan (CMP). This is the key step recommended by Historic England.

The purpose of the CMP is to provide a comprehensive and holistic assessment of the significance of the House, Stables and Park in order to provide information on the relative value or significance of the component parts of the heritage assets. It is intended to provide the basis of a long term maintenance and management strategy for the Park. It is possible that in the future a bid for funds to improve the Park and restore the baroque water gardens might be made under the Parks for People programme.

The second element is composed of the various Options Appraisal reports, intended to develop alternative viable future uses of the House and Stable Block.

The Long List Options

The Long List Options Appraisal draws on the CMP, on the outcome of the public consultation which ran to November 2015, on the Market analysis and on the Options Appraisal (see below). It considers and evaluates a wide variety of options, concluding that the best fit is that of an arts-based community use. This could involve artist studio and workshop space in the stableyard, and possibly in the house, with parts of the House and stables open periodically for public viewing, with some rooms in the House open more regularly or available for public hire, displays etc.

Attached to the Long List are sketches showing how much of the House could be new-build.

The January 2016 Update report

The January 2016 Update Report might better be identified as an interim report, and is perhaps less informative than:

The Report on Options

This Report on Options (actually dated April 2016) considers the objectives and finance of the project and the risks to it. The objectives are set as Restoration, Public Access and Viability. It then focuses on the reduced list of options and shows how they fit with the objectives. The paper goes on to compare the financial profiles of each option. It includes a baseline business model (including a café, rentable space and a degree of heritage interpretation), capital costs, comparative discounted cash flows for the various models, and the runs a risk assessment on them.

It concludes (albeit with a number of caveats) that restoration and part re-build of the House and artist’s studios in the stablyard as enabling development are the preferred solutions.

This paper takes into account the comprehensive Market Context Analysis, which puts Broomfield House in a wider context and develops the concept of the growing potential for creative studio workshop places which it assesses presents an opportunity to capitalise and gain a share of this market.

Finally, the Cost Model covers in detail the refurbishment/rebuild costs for Broomfield House, the stableyard buildings and, four options for their use [3], the demolition of the row of 1960’s houses in the stableyard and should it come to it, for the demolition of Broomfield House itself.

"Soft Marketing"

Using this information, the next steps are for Enfield to beginning informal "soft marketing", seeking expressions of interest from potential commercial partners. Looking further ahead, Enfield and the existing Broomfield House Trust and Friends of Broomfield Park are planning a seminar with Historic England and the Architectural Heritage Fund on a potential management trust for a restored House and Stableyard. It is likely that this seminar, which will be by invitation from LBE will look to a wider participation.

In spite of all this work, unless funding from a commercial partner or partners and further grants from the HLF and others can be agreed, demolition of the House remains a possibility.

Colin Younger
Chair, The Broomfield House Trust

Footnotes

  1. The remit of the Partnership Board is to identify and deliver restoration of Broomfield House, Stable Block and Park to provide maximum access whilst ensuring the building has a viable use for the future. 
  2. For those not familiar with the status of Broomfield House it is a II* listed building on the Historic England list of Heritage at Risk. Historic England (represented on the Board) have advised on the strategy which the Board has been following.
  3. Art Studios, Performance art space, Commercial use/offices, and Residential use.
The remit of the Partnership Board is to identify and deliver restoration of Broomfield House, Stable Block and Park to provide maximum access whilst ensuring the building has a viable use for the future. 
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Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #2256 05 Sep 2016 11:14
The LBE website now includes the Gazetteer annex to the Conservation Management Plan. This 277 page paper covers every know feature in the Park, including ones which only the faintest signs now exist and which would need further research, including by archaeologists, to understand. There are short notes on description,background, significance and any management action suggested for each item, photographs and location maps. See:
new.enfield.gov.uk/services/planning/heritage-conservation-and-countryside/broomfield-house/planning-information-broomfield-house-gazetteer-with-plans.pdf
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #2257 05 Sep 2016 12:45
Enfield is arranging a seminar to explore future governance/management arrangements for Broomfield House and stableyard should the rebuilding programme go ahead. This is what LBE have said. Please note the section I have marked in bold.


Historic England and Architectural Heritage Fund have indicated the afternoon of 19th October to provide a governance workshop.
We will be requiring attendees to register for the event, which will enable us to retain some control and ensure that the event is restricted to the Trust / Friends and others with genuine skills and commitment to offer the project.
We need to know likely numbers to arrange a suitable venue.

Once I receive confirmation of who is to definitely attend I’ll build an attendance list and book a venue.


Could anyone with the time, skills and interest in the future arrangements, who would like to attend let me know at . It might help LBE if those who want to attend could briefly indicate relevant skills/background.

Colin Younger
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #2266 09 Sep 2016 19:43
Enfield has now posted details of the Governance workshop at:

new.enfield.gov.uk/services/planning/heritage-conservation-and-countryside/broomfield-house/planning-information-broomfield-house-governance-workshop-invite.pdf

The posting includes the following:-

Community partners have a vital role to play in steering the Broomfield House project. We will be holding a community capacity building Governance Workshop
in October 2016. This workshop will be delivered by officers from Historic England, the Architectural Heritage Fund and Enfield Council.
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #2347 22 Oct 2016 11:07
The seminar on future governance arrangements for a reopened Broomfield House held on 19 October provided a great deal of information and advice about the sort of formal arrangements and the range of skills and expertise which might be needed. The Partnership Board will need to consider how to take this forward, but there would clearly be a huge role for volunteers to join any new management trust.
More immediately, the Broomfield House Trust has a collection box in Palmers Green Waitrose under the Community Matters scheme. This is aimed at gaining support for our plan to fund a trial restoration of sections of the Lanscroon Mural which used to grace the main hall and stairs. If you shop there and want to support this initiative please drop your green tokens in to our collection box.
Chrystalla Georgiou's Avatar
Chrystalla Georgiou posted a reply #2474 01 Dec 2016 17:48
The potential restoration of Broomfield House is dragging on snail slow. Its hindrance for restoration could be due to the way ideas are presented to those that could financially help raise Broomfield House from the ashes into a very rewarding and profitable property.

In reality, Broomfield's House has huge potential both to the public and financially for Palmers Green but it seems few have the vision and insight to see it.

The property is in the borough of Enfield just like Capel Manor and Forty Hall but with far better travel links because luckily, there is ideally the Palmers Green Railway Station on Broomfield House doorstep, therefore Enfield Council should try and not be reluctant in getting involve by engaging with the Friends of Broomfield Park to help link Broomfield House with the other two mention properties to providing a more or less similar programmes which will include those good ideas proposed by The Friends of Broomfield House.

Broomfield House will entice people to visit and under take courses who would never travel to Forty Hall or Capel Manor for their courses and events. With acknowledge certificates such as City and Guides for various specialized Arts and Crafts courses and acknowledged certificate Horticultural Courses such as Flower Arranging, landscaping. A cinema for youngest for mid morning viewing on the Weekends will mean the cafeteria always be full.

I certainly love the exciting ideas proposed for the Stable Yards which include an Art/Craft Studios and Kitchen Garden.

Centrally, Broomfield House has the potential to become popular and notable. The public love anything to with Arts and Crafts of quality, they always draw in the crowds and Palmers Green will inevitably become a fashionable artistic area.

I wonder for the sake of progress should the name of Broomfield House be extended to characterise its new fashion potential ? For example Broomfield House of Specialized Course and Events, a name is said to hold much value and promise.

Personally, it shocking that Broomfield House has remained in its current state with hope of it restoration each year never to materialize. Enfield Council must be generating a lot of revenue in the borough to allow this house to remain in it current burned out shell, because one day Broomfield House will be big business and people will wonder why it took so long to restore.
Catharine Perry's Avatar
Catharine Perry posted a reply #2486 08 Dec 2016 11:02
This may make me no friends in Palmers Green, but I think one option for Broomfield House would be to knock it down and replace it with a community centre designed for that purpose. We can't keep everything from the past! And what about accessibility? I doubt it's designed for wheelchairs, lifts would have to be put in. "Surviving fragments of 16th century fabric, ... the stair hall and [being] the focal point of a largely intact Baroque and earlier landscape", may not be enough to justify restoration, and a spectacular modern building fit for purpose might in fact be cheaper. The sad scaffolded building has been there for so long that a whizzy bright modern building would soon find a place in people's affections.
Garry Humphreys's Avatar
Garry Humphreys posted a reply #2488 08 Dec 2016 18:14
I don't agree with you, but I know exactly what you mean! The disgrace of Broomfield House has been the Council's foot dragging over a period of more than 20 years. When the fires occurred (and I bet they weren't accidental!) the insurance money should have been spent on restoring the building immediately rather than squandering it on years of so-called 'security' provision as the building itself fell into further decay. The whole thing could have been sorted quickly and (certainly at today's prices) relatively cheaply with the building adding lustre to the park and providing an income for the Council. But the opportunist Philistines on the Council had other priorities (largely short term) , often contributing to the downgrading of the streetscape. Have they learned any lessons? Not if the Green Dragon debacle is anything to go by ...
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #2489 09 Dec 2016 15:50
At the risk of repeating materiel already on the PGC website but for ease of reference can I respond to the recent postings. I agree with many of the points about how sad the situation is. However, we are where we are, and the trick is not to become defeated by past failures, but to focus on the potential which a restored House and stableyard would offer.

Broomfield House and the stable yard are Listed buildings and legally every avenue has to be explored before any permission to demolish them could be sought. Should this be the (very regrettable) outcome, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for a whizzy new building suited for a listed park setting to be funded and built or there to be any agreement on what it should look like!.

However on the positive side, many locals see the situation not as a problem but as an opportunity to restore the historic core of the listed park, and this was the overwhelming response to last year’s public consultation.

There is only one source for the main restoration funding which is needed, and this is the Heritage Lottery Fund. If it is to be persuaded to help fund restoration, the process has to be laid out logically, deal with issues of heritage, environment, educational and public benefit, and demonstrate a financial programme for both the restoration and longer term financial viability.

The Broomfield House Partnership Board (on which both the Broomfield House Trust and the Friends of Broomfield Park sit) has been following the steps to achieve this. These are as recommended by Historic England based on their experience in similar situations. Unfortunately all this takes time but the results so far can be seen at-
new.enfield.gov.uk/services/planning/heritage-conservation-and-countryside/broomfield-house/
and
www.broomfieldhouse.org/news-archive.html

One option looked at for Broomfield House would include a new section within the existing footprint with current standards for access and which would house modern services. Add a good quality café/restaurant, restored hall and stairs and elements of the restored Lanscroon murals, rooms for hire/rent, with a digital history of the House and park accessible on site and remotely, and I think that the potential is clear, even before the stableyard is taken in to account.

Some may be convinced that “nothing can be done”. Well, fine, each to his/her own, but please don’t try to prevent those who haven’t given up from continuing to try. Be positive - you'll feel better!

Finding the finance isn’t easy, but we haven’t given up.

Colin Younger, Broomfield House Trust Chair

See also...

  • 26 August 2019

Future of Broomfield House: Developments over last twelve months

The Annual General Meeting of the Broomfield House Trust will be held next Tuesday at 7.30pm at the Ruth Winston Centre. Ahead of the meeting the Trust's chair, Colin Younger, has issued his annual report. As outlined in the report, the current most optimistic scenario for the rebuilding of Broomfield House is restoration of the complete exterior of the building with only very limited fitting out of the interior, to incorporate a cafe. Enfield Council support this, but only on condition that the costs of this work are completely covered by money earned by building housing in the Stableyard. Read more

  • 12 August 2019

Broomfield's Bottleneck Blues

Photographer Barbara Luckhurst was again on hand at Sunday's Broomfield Blues and has sent us shots of the two slide guitarists in action. Read more