CPRE says that the historic house and registered gardens must be kept because of the way they have been preserved over the centuries. The house has remained largely unchanged for over 400 years, and its setting in open landscape creates both heritage value and countryside appeal.
Edward Dawson, spokesman for CPRE Hampshire said: “Bramshill House is such a special heritage asset in Hart district, and CPRE feels strongly that not all options have been fully explored in its future use and development potential. New life is needed for the next stage of this site, and it should not have too many houses built in its grounds. Hart District Council should work with the developer to ensure the survival of the house, while creating a new amenity in the district”.
CPRE has sent its statement1 to City & Country, the new owners and developers, and to Hart District Council, as planning authority. In this, it argues that the main house is in a good state of repair, and would benefit from a single occupation and usage. This might be a commercial use that would also and crucially allow significant public access. It lists several similar historic sites, such as Compton Verney, near Northampton, which is an art gallery, and West Dean Estate in Sussex, which runs educational courses and public events.
CPRE also suggests that the National Trust and the Heritage Lottery Fund could provide invaluable advice, from their store of knowledge and experience. CPRE is itself willing to work with all parties to find an acceptable way forward for this outstanding site, and that meets these clear aims.
Bramshill House, built in 1605 near Hazeley Heath was a police college owned by the Home Office for over forty years, and this ensured that the fabric of the building and much of its contents of rare furniture and pictures have been kept together. While newer buildings were put in at the back to service the college, the overall appearance and character of the mansion remained unchanged. The extensive parkland is also of great merit and beauty.
1 CPRE Hampshire’s statement on the future of Bramshill House, ‘Jacobean mansion in a historic landscape’ is available to download below.