For those people like myself who had never heard of Northfield Manor it’s been an enlightening couple of months. Together with a few like-minded people I’ve been trawling around for information to see what the future holds for the Manor House at the back of Manor Park Farm.
The starting point was to look at the English Heritage report – it made very interesting reading and it seems as though EH had put some work into investigating the house, it’s architecture and history and come up with a big fat NO with regard to listing it. From their point of view, although the main internal structure of the original house (built in 1701) was still there, due to the fact that it’s been altered so much, it didn’t retain enough interesting features to be worthy of listing. Neither did it feature in the story of the Cadbury family significantly enough to be deemed as historically important for listing.
After getting hold of an archaeological report from the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeologists Society (written in the 1980’s by a lady called Sally Jeffery), it seems as though this assumption had already been made back then – the house had been too far altered from its original design. Although the architectural alterations were done by some fairly well respected local architects, again for statutory listing purposes, they would need to be either architecturally or historically important.
Whatever your opinion, and I’m sure you know mine, this building won’t be listed any time soon (other than locally, which does offer some protection).
Finally a word from the current owners themselves, Birmingham University, based on a request sent to them recently for information:
“THE UNIVERSITY HAS ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT TO SELL THE SITE SUBJECT TO PLANNING APPROVAL BEING OBTAINED FOR RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT. ANY PLANNING APPLICATION THAT IS SUBMITTED FOR THE SITE WILL BE IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN AND SUBJECT TO CONSULTATION”
So from the horses mouth, there you have it. Will this mean we will be able to object to any plans for demolition? Let’s wait and see what the plans are first………………!
by Leigh Walker