Portishead - 47 days to save council farm from sell-off

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Fri Apr 2 00:28:32 BST 2010

This is a weird one - an historical anomaly - a farm in North 
Somerset owned by Bristol City Council

Good news for farm campaigners

Weston Mercury - 28 March 2010
NEWS that council chiefs are unlikely to allow any new development on 
an historic farm site in Portishead has pleased campaigners.
The Court House Farm, which local historians say dates back to the 
1400s, is set to be auctioned in London on May 10 and members of the 
community fear the town could lose another part of its heritage if it 
is bought by developers.

Campaigners warn: We have 47 days to save farm from sell-off

Thursday, March 25, 2010, 07:00

Campaigners fighting plans to sell off one of Portishead's only 
remaining High Street farms have warned residents in the town they 
have just 47 days to save it.

Dozens of people packed a public meeting last night to discuss ways 
to stop plans by Bristol City Council to sell off Court Farm and 
Springfield Farm at auction on May 9.

Members of the Save Court Farm campaign want the city council to open 
up talks with them about the possibility of setting up a trust to run 
the site as a community farm and heritage centre.

Campaigners are now drawing up options for the site and plan to 
launch a fighting fund to raise cash to appoint a planning expert to 
help them stop the sale. People across the town will be asked to 
pledge either money or their time to the drive.

Campaign leader Rita Baker said: "The people of Portishead need to be 
aware that we have just 47 days to save Court Farm. Our most pressing 
objective is to stop this sale in its tracks.

"We need the community of Portishead to get behind us and fight to 
stop Bristol City Council going ahead with the auction."

A steering committee has now been set up to look at viable options 
for the site. Mrs Baker, a 37-year-old mum of two who lives in the 
town, said: "We need to come up with real alternatives to the farm 
being sold off.

"We have to propose a practical solution which is realistic, 
researched and has the support of the community.

"We need help from all sections of the community to make this happen 
and are appealing to people with different skills to join us, whether 
it is people who have knowledge of planning and conservation or fundraising."

Residents said they were keen to see the farm, which is Grade II 
listed, retained for future generations.

A number of the town's High Street farms have already been sold off, 
despite huge opposition, and used for housing.

Resident Tina Martin, 38, who grew up in Portishead, said: "I used to 
live around the corner from the farm and visited it on a daily basis.

"It is one of Portishead's only remaining green spaces and if this is 
swallowed up by development, there will be nothing left at all."

Ian Coles, 47, of Portishead, said: "Court Farm is a unique resource 
and it would be criminal to see it turned into houses."

The meeting heard that Bristol City Council had been planning to sell 
the site since 2005, although news of it going under the hammer only 
came to light this year.

Campaigner and resident, Alexis Ward, said: "We have less than 50 
days to save this farm and make a difference. We have to act now to 
save this unique site for future generations of Portishead."

Campaigners have already handed a 3,000 name petition to Bristol City 
Council chief executive Jan Ormondroyd objecting to the sale.

The farm, which is rumoured used to be lived in by a Lord and was 
once part of a wider estate in the town.

The campaign received a boost earlier this month when North Somerset 
Council said it was 'unlikely' to allow any major development of the 
site on the grounds it was important to the town's heritage.

Under planning guidance issued by the Secretary of State, it also 
says that buildings of such historical value should only be developed 
in line with their original use.

Anyone who wants to get involved with the campaign should email Mrs 
Baker on tootsie1972 at tiscali.co.uk.


+44 (0)7786 952037
"Capitalism is institutionalised bribery."

"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which 
alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
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