AN HISTORIC Grade II listed Droitwich farmhouse with links to Henry VIII looks set to be saved and converted into affordable housing after gaining a National Lottery Heritage grant totalling £259,400.
The Worcestershire Building Preservation Trust (WBPT) has received initial support for Willow Court, made possible by National Lottery players.
The development funding will help the trust progress its plans for a full National Lottery grant in 2022.
The WBPT is working with Wychavon District Council and Platform Housing Group to restore and convert the empty property for a viable future – securing the historic at risk building and providing more homes with affordable rent.
The farmhouse, which has not been lived in for decades, is in a poor condition, so the first stage of the project will be to make the site secure and develop detailed plans to save the building.
The longer-term plan will see essential conservation work undertaken to stabilise it, including preservation of a historic timber frame hidden inside with a view to creating six new affordable flats.
An apprenticeship programme is planned, alongside a series of local community events and activities which will help to unlock the lost history of the farm and surrounding land.
Research into a possible royal link will be also undertaken as it is thought that the farmhouse was part of the Salwarpe estate lands once owned by the family of Catherine of Aragon, wife of King Henry VIII.
The property is currently owned by Wychavon District Council, which has been working with the trust for the past two years to find a sustainable, viable future for the building.
Upon completion the homes will be leased by Platform.
Sue Whitehouse, chair of the Worcestershire Building Preservation Trust said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players and aim to work with the local community in the area as we develop the project further.
“Added to the funding we have received from Wychavon District Council and the Architectural Heritage Fund, we are now able to ensure that Willow Court Farmhouse will indeed be safe as houses.”
Wychavon leader Coun Bradley Thomas added: “We have been working closely with the WBPT and Platform Housing Group to develop this project.
“This support, thanks to National Lottery players, will ensure that the new partnership will bring real change and benefits to both Willow Court Farmhouse and the people around it.”
Gerraint Oakley, Executive Director (Growth and Development), Platform Housing Group said: “We are thrilled to be involved in this project – ensuring that the historical importance of Willow Court Farmhouse won’t be lost is certainly heart-warming.
“Bringing the property back to life will be a wonderful addition to the local community.
“And with the need for affordable housing increasing, this project looks set to be a welcome addition to our growing portfolio of homes.”