Wanted: photographs of the Stanmer Old Stable Block interior

posted Feb 18, 2017, 9:59 AM by SPS Stanmer Preservation Society

SPS has won the chance to gather evidence to reconstruct the old stabling. Can you help?

When Mike Holland was finally granted planning permission for the conversion of the old stable block to dwellings in 2012 there was one part of the remaining stabling that was to be retained and not converted, as it was considered to have considerable historic value. In addition, an adjoining area was to be converted into a cycle store for the buildings. These were conditions of the permission. 

The stabling was considered so valuable as it was a very rare original example of a change in the way that horses were managed in the late 18thC, in that these were internal loose-boxes which effectively provided a chill-out zone for foaling mares, or horses such as heavy hunters who needed a recuperation period after unaccustomed strenuous exercise.

In spite of this, Mr Holland went ahead and converted this area of the Old Stable Block into a studio flat, and turned the planned cycle store into the kitchen and ensuite. He applied in August 2016 for retrospective permission for this work and a relocation of the proposed cycle store to the old boiler room (museum).

On Thursday 9th February SPS spoke at South Downs National Park Authority against this application, requesting that the committee postponed their decision until further information could be obtained about how this stabling and its fitting looked before conversion took place, with the aim of a possible re-construction, which is within their remit.

You will be pleased to know that the planning committee were prepared to support this request and SPS will be working with the planning officers to gather as much information as possible about the stabling, with a view to requiring Mr Holland to install a reconstruction of the old stabling destroyed during the conversion.

If you have any information, photographs or memories about the stabling please let us know as soon as possible!

Preserving trees at Stanmer - update

posted Feb 2, 2017, 11:37 AM by SPS Stanmer Preservation Society

Over the past few weeks, some of the trees in Stanmer Park have been decked with white ribbons. These were attached by Stanmer Preservation Society and members of the public to draw attention to trees that might be felled or moved in plans proposed by Brighton and Hove County Council’s Parks Project to restore part of Stanmer to an 18th century layout.

Some of these trees are memorial trees, planted by friends and family in memory of loved ones. Others are simply established trees that members of the public appreciate and do not wish to lose. The ribbons have generated public awareness and concern.

The Council has now assured the SPS that without agreement from donors, no memorial tree will be felled or moved

A spokesperson from the council said;

“Where we are unable to identify the donor, the tree will remain and in all scenarios, agreement with the donors will be a prerequisite before taking any action.”

With this assurance, the SPS supports the council’s action to remove the ribbons from the memorial trees and replace them with a notice encouraging owners to contact the Parks Project Team regarding the Stanmer Park restoration proposals.

With regard to other trees in the park, The Council says that the SPS and other stakeholders will be involved in discussions going forward and over the course of the restoration, the Restoration Project will be planting at least 250 new trees back into the Stanmer landscape.

SPS Chair, Al Brookes, looks forward to further discussion. “Stanmer has been neglected for too long and is in significant need of investment – and this project is an opportunity to see some positive developments. There may be plenty more discussion, challenge and debate to come, but the SPS will be working closely with Cityparks and other stakeholders to ensure we get the best possible future for the park we all value so much.”

Further details about the broader Restoration Project can be found at the Parks and green spaces web page

If you have any queries about specific trees in Stanmer, you can contact the Parks Project Team at or call 01273 293 007. 

Nothing 'regular' about loss of historic stabling

posted Jan 30, 2017, 8:25 AM by SPS Stanmer Preservation Society

A Planning Application has been submitted for 'Regularisation for the change of use of stables to form self contained studio flat.' What this means, basically, is that the part of the old stables in question has already been converted by the developer - destroying the original historic timber fittings in the process - in spite of the fact that permission to develop this area was specifically denied. Planning consent to make this ok is now being sought in retrospect. You can see our response to this application - and add your own - on the South Downs National Park planning page. We've included the full text of our response below:

SPS response to Stable Block Planning Application SDNP/16/04263/FUL 

The Society is shocked and deeply disappointed to learn that the historically valuable stabling has been lost during the residential development of the Stable Block, despite this being specifically omitted from the original planning permission. We wish to fully support comments and statements made by Alma Howell from Historic England and Mr Bill Fairhall.

The Society finds it difficult to understand how it has been possible for works to have progressed to the level where there has there has been effectively (very effectively!) created a studio flat in an area of the stable block that was expressively to be preserved and not included in the development. We would ask why this North East range was submitted to the same damp proofing work as the residential development? It is clear from Phil Purvis' Heritage and Design statement that it had never been the intention of the developer to preserve this unique and valuable feature, which would also have left tangible context to the original use of the buildings for future generations.

Additionally, we note with further disappointment that the adjacent area originally planned as a cycle store appears to have been encompassed into a kitchen and shower room for this accommodation. We presume that this cycle store was shown on the original approved plans as some mitigation towards sustainable transport, which is now lost.

The Society requests that there is an enquiry at the highest level as to why monitoring of the development of this Grade 2* listed building was not to sufficient to halt this destruction and to fully explain how evidence of this historic stabling has been lost.

Clearly it would not be in the best public interest for this application for regularisation of change of use to be approved. Regularisation would also not discourage this or any other developer from flagrantly disregarding planning restrictions.

Although the original timber fittings of the stabling may have been lost, it is presumed that stone and metal fittings, such as door latches and feeding troughs may have been retained. Even if this is not the case, the best possible outcome would be for this area to be reinstated and restored following the photographic evidence that exists and the careful and contextual facsimile be available for public viewing.

It is evidently not in the public interest that this developer should be enabled to profit from their actions in this case and we request in the strongest possible terms that SDNPA insists on the originally approved plans, refuses this regularisation request and demands reinstatement. 

SPS response to developments – Latest TV News

posted Jan 11, 2017, 10:30 AM by SPS Stanmer Preservation Society

YouTube Video

The Council's HLF Funding bid has been successful

posted Jan 9, 2017, 4:26 AM by SPS Stanmer Preservation Society   [ updated Jan 9, 2017, 4:41 AM ]

So there are changes ahead for Stanmer. We welcome the opportunity for the kind of creative, sensitive development that Stanmer deserves - and we're going to work hard to ensure this is what Stanmer gets! Make sure you know what's going on.

Why the white ribbons on some of the trees at Stanmer Park?

posted Jan 7, 2017, 3:50 AM by SPS Stanmer Preservation Society   [ updated Jan 9, 2017, 4:30 AM ]

Volunteers have used white ribbons to draw attention to trees that are under threat of removal.

Brighton and Hove City Council have submitted a Heritage Lottery Funding bid to restore the Parkland to its 18th century design which includes plans to fell or move many trees, some of which were purchased by families as a memorial to a loved one.

Whether the bid is successful or not (update on 9.1.17 - the bid HAS been successful) SPS seeks a commitment from BHCC that established trees should not be felled or moved unless they are diseased.

It’s our view that all the established trees in the Park have value but we wish to draw attention to the following trees in particular:

·      all the memorial trees (purchased by families and friends to remember loved ones)

·      the large lime trees by the Lower Lodges entrance (these are in fact listed by Heritage at Risk and have great value)

·      the Tulip tree opposite the t-junction past Stanmer House

·      the Dawn Redwood tree next to the Church pond.

Stanmer’s trees are part of its living history.

The Dawn Redwood next to the Church pond was planted by Johnny Gapper, who has lived and worked in Stanmer for decades. Something does need to be done because its roots are now threatening the pond wall. However, rather than destroying the tree, why not reroute the pond wall? This is living, evolving history.

The Dawn Redwood (on the left) has beautiful ferny foliage and is a bright, light green in spring, turning russet-brown with tints of coppery pink in autumn. In winter it makes a strong pyramidal silhouette. The Dawn Redwood (on the right of the picture) has beautiful ferny foliage and is a bright, light green in spring, turning russet-brown with tints of coppery pink in autumn. In winter it makes a strong pyramidal silhouette. Stanmer Park’s resident blacksmith, Daniel Griffiths, is currently looking at designing a bespoke iron seat to celebrate this tree. The design of the seat would incorporate the Pelham Buckle, which has been a symbol associated with the Park for hundreds of years (and part of the SPS logo since its formation in 1971). If you feel strongly about the future of the trees in Stanmer or have any comments, please contact your local MP or ward Councillor. Also, please visit and like our Facebook page and post your comments!


11 December Committee meeting

posted Nov 29, 2015, 8:05 AM by SPS Stanmer Preservation Society

Including future of the museum collection, review of communications with council.

Committee meeting 30 October

posted Oct 31, 2015, 2:29 AM by SPS Stanmer Preservation Society

Damage and wildlife disturbance from cycling in the woods
Maintenance of Stanmer Digital Archive progressing
Yet further negotiations about museum site
Work planned for Church pond
Repairs to stonework in Stanmer church

Committee meeting 25 September

posted Oct 31, 2015, 2:26 AM by SPS Stanmer Preservation Society

Further negotiations with the council about a site for displaying and storing items from the Rural Museum -no further progress.
Negotiations about work on Stanmer church pond.

Committee meeting

posted Jul 18, 2015, 6:29 AM by SPS Stanmer Preservation Society

31 August Items include garage lease, Long Barn and museum pieces

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