Proposals and Management Plan
National policies and guidelines are set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS 5) as well as the relevant English Heritage guidance documents.
Local Plan Policies are contained in the Isle of Wight Unitary Development Plan and the published draft Core Strategy for the forthcoming Local Development Framework.
The conservation principles for Farringford are based on the principles and supporting guidelines set out by English Heritage in Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance, 2008, which establishes a basis for current and future conservation planning and protection in the historic environment, the guiding principles are:
- The historic environment is a shared and non-renewable resource
- Everyone should be able to participate in sustaining the historic environment
- Understanding the significance of places is vital
- Significant places should be managed to sustain their value
- Decisions about change must be reasonable, transparent and consistent
- Documenting and learning from decisions is essential.
3.1 Aims and Objectives for the property
It is clear that the main interest in this property is based on its occupation by Alfred Lord Tennyson and his family. Much evidence of his occupation and use of the building and grounds remain and more may still be discovered or reinstated.
The overall intention is therefore to restore the property to how it was when the Tennyson family were in occupation as far as it is possible and reasonable to do so, based on the archive and evidence from the building itself.
However other factors also need to be taken into consideration including the relative significance of later alterations and extensions which are now part of the fabric and character of the building. It is also important to consider the financial viability and use of the building in the medium and longer terms and this will affect decisions regarding the retention and use of the more commercial elements of the property. Matters relating to public interest and access to this important historic resource will also be a consideration.
The house and grounds have significance for the reasons outlined in the relevant section. The property has been the subject of various alterations, extensions and different uses, resulting in a complexity of issues which need to be addressed. In addition the latest phase of use of the property as a hotel has led to some inappropriate and poor quality alterations and extensions and in later years, lack of sympathetic management and appropriate maintenance.
Notwithstanding the above, the house retains much of its historic fabric and cultural interest and informed investigation will continue to reveal more information.
As noted in the list description the occupation of the house by the Tennyson family is of significant historic and cultural importance and is the principle reason for the Grade 1 listing.
Alfred wrote important works at the house and he and Emily undertook building works which were particularly related to their occupation and use of the property which greatly adds to the significance of this era. As the property remained with the Tennyson family until 1946 and the house still retains much of its character as Alfred and Emily would have known it. This combined with documentary and building evidence, as well as remaining artefacts, would make it possible to return the property to very much as it was when Alfred and Emily were living there.
However it is important to recognise that later alterations and uses are also part of the historic significance and continuing evolution of the building and works were carried out by Alfred’s son Hallam, as well as later alterations and extensions in association with the use of the property as a hotel.
This report will analyse the evidence and significance of the various elements to establish an appropriate action plan so that the historic and cultural significance of the property is maintained and where appropriate enhanced.
In addition the financial stability and future maintenance of the property will be considered to ensure that it remains viable and appropriately cared for.
A series of conservations principles will be established as a basis for future decisions and management of the property. These principles are based on those established in published documents including ’Informed Conservation’ and ‘Conservation Principles Policies and Guidance for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment’.
3.2 Farringford Conservation Principles
Principles for the Conservation of Farringford House
REQUIREMENTS UNDER DISABILITIES LEGISLATION
(Disabilities Discrimination Act, 1995 - DDA)
Provision for staff and visitors with disabilities will need to accord with the requirements of the DDA, as applied to historic buildings.
The National Disability Council’s Code of Practice recommends establishment of a positive policy on the provision of goods, facilities and services, with arrangements to monitor the policy, staff awareness, training and consultation with disabled people. In the case of Farringford House, particular care will need to be exercised in developing alternative provision and appropriate management, since parts of the site would be difficult to access for persons with limited mobility.
3.3 Use and Management
Initially it is intended to use the hotel dining and function rooms which are served by a commercial kitchen for weddings and similar functions. The hotel rooms in the northern wing above the main entrance and loggia will be available for the wedding party and in some instances invited guest may be able to use rooms in the original part of the dwelling.
The chalets in the grounds will also be available for guests throughout the year.
It is also intended to allow controlled access to Tennyson’s study and possibly to other parts of the house on a limited basis which will be established as part of a management plan as the project evolves. This is shown on the relevant plans which explain the use and accessibility of the various areas.
The separate garden restaurant has been refurbished and is open for use.
Further decisions regarding the use and management of the property will be made as the project develops and the time scale will be dependent on the viability and practical implications of the proposals.
The guiding considerations will be to restore and reveal the building as it was when Alfred was in residence, whilst recognising the relative values of some of the later alterations and family associations and to allow controlled access to the historic parts of the house.
It will also be necessary to establish a financially viable future for the site. This will need to be achieved without further compromising the integrity of the building or its setting and if possible enhancing it by removing intrusive elements.
The current proposals are outlined in the plans provided by Kilburn Nightingale Architects which are shown in Appendix 5