Council submits Broomfield House lottery bid

Money being sought for work on derelict building – but restoration unlikely, reports James Cracknell

Broomfield House
Broomfield House has been derelict since 1984 after a series of fires

Enfield Council has submitted a first-stage bid for lottery funding in relation to Broomfield House – but is keeping quiet about what its plans are for the historic building.

The Grade 2*-listed mansion house in Palmers Green has been damaged by a series of fires going back to 1984, leaving almost no hope of fully restoring it. However, various other proposals that might involve a partial restoration, reconstruction or memorialisation of Broomfield House and its adjacent stable yard have been put forward in recent years.

Now the council has confirmed that it has submitted an ‘expression of interest’ bid to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which is the first of three stages in obtaining grant funding. It says “there will be a form of engagement and/or consultation later this year” but has not revealed what plans it has put forward as part of the lottery bid.

Should the council win through to the next stage of a funding application, its proposals will be considered by the cabinet in 2023.

The most recent proposal – endorsed by Broomfield House Trust – was to permit a small housing development in the stable yard, using the money raised to secure the external structure of the house and allowing the trust to lead further fundraising efforts to pay for a full restoration of the interior. However, this idea was rejected by the council in 2020.

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Broomfield House Trust chair Colin Younger has previously expressed his disappointment with the council’s approach to restoring the historic building, which is on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register. He said the trust has been sidelined by the council and has had no involvement in the council’s latest lottery bid.

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“We don’t know how ambitious it might be,” Colin told the Dispatch. “It could be that they are putting some sort of plan to the lottery that they won’t support so they get easy permission to demolish [Broomfield House] – but then they will still be left with the stable yard.

“Whatever you do you are left with a problem.”

Colin concedes there is now no hope of a full restoration, with a previous lottery bid being rejected in 2013. “The last fire [in 2019] left it with nothing left to restore – it is non-existent.”

But demolition would itself be an expensive operation, projected to cost around half-a-million pounds. There would then be the added costs of memorialisation, such as marking out the site of the house and providing interpretation, and any legal costs that might come from the risk of a public inquiry being held because of the building’s listed status.

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