Enfield Council has just posted on its website a comprehensive set of documents prepared for the Broomfield House Partnership Boards’  consideration of the future of the House  and Stableyard. These can be read as they stand, but in order to better understand these papers, it might be helpful to summarise how we got here.
A number of earlier plans proposed by Enfield and/or community groups have for one reason or another not succeeded. The most recent plan was the 2012 joint Council-Broomfield House Trust/Friends of Broomfield Park working group bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the rebuilding of the House. Regrettably, the HLF told us in 2013 that were unable to agree to provide the almost £5m bid on a basis that this was a traditional Heritage project, which was risky given the extent of the damage and, in practice, was not in their view of national significance warranting a £5m grant.
Heritage Enterprise Programme
Given this, Enfield Council in conjunction with Historic England and the HLF determined that an approach to the HLF under its relatively new Heritage Enterprise Programme should be explored for both the House and stableyard (an almost equal priority for the Trust). Any scheme to rebuild and reopen Broomfield House would have to raise the capital costs and cover future running costs. The Enterprise Programme is designed for properties such as Broomfield House where traditional heritage fund raising has not succeeded, and under which enabling commercial involvement has to be secured before the HLF bid is made. Commercial involvement in such a heritage property would normally be unacceptable in planning terms, but for the fact that it brings sufficient public benefits which could not otherwise be achieved. The key element is usually securing the long-term future of the asset. The HLF contribution is intended to cover what is described as the “conservation deficit”, which is defined as the amount by which the cost of repair exceeds its market value on completion.
This latest approach starts with the creation of a Conservation Management Plan (CMP). This is the key step recommended by Historic England.
The purpose of the CMP is to provide a comprehensive and holistic assessment of the significance of the House, Stables and Park in order to provide information on the relative value or significance of the component parts of the heritage assets. It is intended to provide the basis of a long term maintenance and management strategy for the Park. It is possible that in the future a bid for funds to improve the Park and restore the baroque water gardens might be made under the Parks for People programme.
The second element is composed of the various Options Appraisal reports, intended to develop alternative viable future uses of the House and Stable Block.
The Long List Options
The Long List Options Appraisal draws on the CMP, on the outcome of the public consultation which ran to November 2015, on the Market analysis and on the Options Appraisal (see below). It considers and evaluates a wide variety of options, concluding that the best fit is that of an arts-based community use. This could involve artist studio and workshop space in the stableyard, and possibly in the house, with parts of the House and stables open periodically for public viewing, with some rooms in the House open more regularly or available for public hire, displays etc.
Attached to the Long List are sketches showing how much of the House could be new-build.
The January 2016 Update report
The January 2016 Update Report might better be identified as an interim report, and is perhaps less informative than:
The Report on Options
This Report on Options (actually dated April 2016) considers the objectives and finance of the project and the risks to it. The objectives are set as Restoration, Public Access and Viability. It then focuses on the reduced list of options and shows how they fit with the objectives. The paper goes on to compare the financial profiles of each option. It includes a baseline business model (including a café, rentable space and a degree of heritage interpretation), capital costs, comparative discounted cash flows for the various models, and the runs a risk assessment on them.
It concludes (albeit with a number of caveats) that restoration and part re-build of the House and artist’s studios in the stablyard as enabling development are the preferred solutions.
This paper takes into account the comprehensive Market Context Analysis, which puts Broomfield House in a wider context and develops the concept of the growing potential for creative studio workshop places which it assesses presents an opportunity to capitalise and gain a share of this market.
Finally, the Cost Model covers in detail the refurbishment/rebuild costs for Broomfield House, the stableyard buildings and, four options for their use , the demolition of the row of 1960’s houses in the stableyard and should it come to it, for the demolition of Broomfield House itself.
Using this information, the next steps are for Enfield to beginning informal "soft marketing", seeking expressions of interest from potential commercial partners. Looking further ahead, Enfield and the existing Broomfield House Trust and Friends of Broomfield Park are planning a seminar with Historic England and the Architectural Heritage Fund on a potential management trust for a restored House and Stableyard. It is likely that this seminar, which will be by invitation from LBE will look to a wider participation.
In spite of all this work, unless funding from a commercial partner or partners and further grants from the HLF and others can be agreed, demolition of the House remains a possibility.
Chair, The Broomfield House Trust
- The remit of the Partnership Board is to identify and deliver restoration of Broomfield House, Stable Block and Park to provide maximum access whilst ensuring the building has a viable use for the future.
- For those not familiar with the status of Broomfield House it is a II* listed building on the Historic England list of Heritage at Risk. Historic England (represented on the Board) have advised on the strategy which the Board has been following.
- Art Studios, Performance art space, Commercial use/offices, and Residential use.