New life for Cranbrook’s gutted farmhouse

PUBLISHED: 10:49 09 December 2016 | UPDATED: 11:05 09 December 2016

As it was: Tillhouse Farm, Cranbrook, photographed in May 2005. Now there are hopes that the Grade II listed farmhouse, which dates from the 15th century, could be rebuilt and become a community asset.

As it was: Tillhouse Farm, Cranbrook, photographed in May 2005. Now there are hopes that the Grade II listed farmhouse, which dates from the 15th century, could be rebuilt and become a community asset.

Archant

Tillhouse Farm – Cranbrook’s 15th century grade II listed farmhouse that was practically burnt to the ground a year ago by an arsonist – is set to rise from the ashes.

Although mystery still surrounds the huge blaze, the building’s future looks clearer.

The farmhouse could become a community asset – most likely a resource centre for the Cranbrook Country Park, including a café – while its adjacent barns may become craft workshops, helping to re-skill people.

The ambitious scheme – which has been likened to Cockington Court near Torquay and Poundbury in Dorchester – could cost at least £2million.

The money may come from Heritage Lottery funding, but to do so, the farmhouse would have to become a community asset.

Andy Wood, Exeter and East Devon Growth Point projects director, has confirmed that Cranbrook’s consortium of developers – which currently owns the building – has agreed to transfer ownership. “It is a very encouraging step,” said Mr Wood.

Cranbrook Town Council, East Devon District Council, Action East Devon, Berry Brook Community Interest Company, the Community Association and the Consortium have been discussing potential future uses and potential owners for a reconstructed listed farmhouse.

“The point we’ve reached is a re-use of the entire site,” said Mr Wood. “A rebuilding of the farmhouse and a re-use of the barns as a community-led scheme that would deliver the types of facilities which would be a real asset for Cranbrook and its community. I am confident that while it may still take a couple of years, we are on the right track.”

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