Agenda item

SCADBURY PARK MOATED MANOR

Minutes:

Report ES18008

 

For urgent repairs and brickwork stabilisation at the Medieval Moated Manor House, Scadbury Park, Executive approval was sought to apply to Historic England (HE) for a Heritage at Risk (HAR) Grant of £95k. Match funding of £60k would be required (£53k from the earmarked reserve for Friends Groups and £7k from existing revenue budgets), resulting in a total cost of £155k.

 

The Manor site and fishponds was designated by HE as a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) in 2013 and in 2014 was added to the HAR Register, classified as having “Extensive significant problems with a declining trend and vulnerability for collapse”. The standing remains of the manor house have a variety of structural problems with the walls increasingly under stress and the fragile brickwork in need of attention.

 

L B Bromley previously secured a three year £20k Management Agreement from HE for periodic maintenance and capital works, including the control of vegetation, felling of trees threatening the moat, soft capping and propping of sensitive walls with HE and L B Bromley each providing up to £10k. The arrangement would end in January 2018.

 

In 2016, a £12.6k HAR Grant for a Condition Survey (with £3k match funding from L B Bromley) detailed key areas at risk from further deterioration and proposed a timescale of works estimated to cost in excess of £1.3m for capital works (taking the highest estimate in cases of different conservation options). However, it was now necessary to refine indicative costings for the most urgent work and obtain up-to-date prices.

 

There was now potential for an additional three-year £20k Management Agreement jointly funded by HE and L B Bromley and HE would welcome a further HAR Grant application (£95k) for the first stage of repair works to address the most urgent stabilisation works (Large Cellar, Narrow Passage and South Moat Wall). Conditions would include maintaining the property and having a condition survey of the property every five years. Should indicative costings in a maintenance plan exceed the current site maintenance budget (£3.3k), alternative funding options would be sought. Although HE would expect a commitment to the conditions, there would be no obligations to deliver remaining phases of works outlined in the condition survey. Although match funding for the grant could be lower than 50%, other potential funding sources would need to be explored including The Chislehurst Society, Orpington District Archaeological Society (ODAS), and Friends. L B Bromley was expected to be the main funder for the current application with others contributing to any subsequent phases. 

 

To enable the HAR grant application it was intended to recruit a Conservation Accredited Professional at £35k and have a further £25k of match-funding expenditure towards capital costs for the Phase 1 repair works. For this second HAR Grant application, the professional would need to secure tender prices of capital works for the three identified areas of the Moated Manor and be expected to project manage the Phase 1 repair works to deliver a successful second grant application. The associated Consultant works would be undertaken in three phases estimated to cost £35k in total (£7k for Phases 1 and 2 and £28k for Phase 3). Should Phase 1 indicative costs (for on-going maintenance) be satisfactory, the consultant would be instructed to continue to Phase 2. But if they exceed the value covered by the Parks Management budget, alternative funding sources would be explored; if unsuccessful, officers would not proceed with the project.

 

On securing tender prices for the identified works, a package of repair works is expected to be created to the value £120k, forming the basis of the HAR grant application. In the interim, an outline application to HE, by the end of their financial year, would register an expression of interest.

 

For the future, HE had indicated they might consider a third or even fourth HAR application for capital repair works. But longer-term, the remainder of investment might need to come from a larger funder such as the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) - all such grant applications needing match-funding and a vision in place for the park. Application could also be made for an HE Capacity Building grant to employ a dedicated resource to produce an HLF application. This would be expected to follow a second HAR application but any future grant applications would depend on grant conditions (it might not be possible to commit to future maintenance requirements given the Council’s financial position).

 

In discussion, it was reported that Chislehurst Ward Councillors had been approached for views with Councillors Ian Payne and Katy Boughey both supportive and Cllr Eric Bosshard yet to provide views.

 

Concerning any intention to increase public use of the site, the site is accessible to view from a distance by the public and ODAS had undertaken work to enable it to be opened up to visitors on open day events. To open up the site for close viewing it would be necessary to look at other phases of repair work, on-site infrastructure and accessibility and there could be opportunity for an HLF application in the future. A vision for the site was currently being developed and stakeholders were being engaged; Members would receive a report back in due course. 

 

The HAR grant application was intended to be submitted before the end of the current financial year. AECOM had also been approached to assist with the recruitment process for a suitable Conservation Accredited Professional.

 

The Portfolio Holder highlighted that a lot of work had been taken forward at High Elms Country Park and at Crystal Palace Park and Scadbury Park provided a third significant green asset in the borough.

 

In terms of Council responsibilities for the park, these included a landowner obligation for the site and responsibility to seek written permission of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for any improvement works at the site (HE having designated the site a Scheduled Ancient Monument).

 

The Chairman referred to the importance of supporting such items and Members RESOLVED that:

 

(1)  the Portfolio Holder be recommended to agree to allocate £53k from the Earmarked Reserve set aside for Friends Groups along with £7k from the existing parks revenue budget, to be used to part fund the project; and

 

(2)  the Executive be recommended to approve:

 

·  submission of a Heritage at Risk Grant application to Historic England for £95k for the project management and delivery of urgent works;

 

·  acceptance and delivery of the grant, if successful, with its associated terms and conditions, subject to costs identified within the maintenance plan being funded within existing budgets and or any additional secured external funding;

 

·  tendering of capital works identified by the Condition Survey as 1A Urgent works, estimated to be £120k;

 

·  appointment of a Conservation Accredited Professional to develop, and project manage the scheme, at an estimated cost of c£35k; and

 

·  the scheme being added to the Capital Programme, at a total cost of £155k, funded from a £60k contribution from revenue and a Historic England grant of £95k, if successful.

 

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