Historic Conygre House could lose its 'look'

Published on: 11 Apr 2017

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Historic Conygre House could lose its 'look', it has been revealed.
Town councillors were told that the developers may wish to render the building - for insulation purposes - which would conceal the original stonework.
Councillors said they had understood the visual integrity of the building would be preserved.
It was also disclosed that the developers are looking to create 'serviced apartments' in some or all of the site. Serviced apartments are typically used for long or short-term stays instead of hotel accommodation.
At a meeting of Filton Town Council, developer Ashley Rigg from Bristol Property Partnership displayed images which showed an artist's impressions of how the house could look.
Mr Rigg said his firm had been speaking to local people about the plans and that he hoped to submit a planning application later this year with a hoped completion date by June 2018.
The plans would also include a two-storey flat roofed building on the site.
Mr Rigg said they were considering two options: the first would see 11 serviced apartments in the original Conygre House and 10 serviced apartments in the new building; the second option would involve eight normal flats in Conygre House and the same plan for the new building. There will be 24 car parking spaces and landscaped gardens preserving the oldest trees on the site and the planting of a number of new ones.
Cllr Anne Kenyon said she had understood that, when Mr Rigg last addressed the council, he said the original look of the building would be preserved.
Mr Rigg said he did not recall making that assertion.  He pointed out that an independent heritage survey he commissioned concluded that the building had been rendered in the past but he would look at suggestions of different types of render that would be more sympathetic to its current appearance before submitting the full application
He said that modern building regulations and issues surrounding insulation made the rendering vital.
Cllr Ian Scott said there was an option of rendering which would give the appropriate 'historic' look.
Cllr Keith Briffett, chair of Friends of Conygre House which fought to keep the building, said the plans were fine but there would be concerns over the look of the exterior.
Mr Rigg said there was a strong market for serviced apartments in the Filton area with big employers such as Airbus, MoD and Southmead Hospital using them for visiting or temporary staff.
He added that with serviced apartment, it could mean the area was less busy at weekends.
The building, at the bottom of Conygre Road near the junction with Filton Avenue, is a 400-year-old former farmhouse and has been the subject of considerable debate for several years.
Owners South Glos Council decided to sell the building in 2005 and there were hopes in 2013 that a counselling organisation would take it over.
That deal fell through, leaving the building and gardens with an uncertain future until developers Bristol Property Partnership bought the building and site.
Last year Councillor Briffett said: “The house will be saved and 10 years of us trying to save the building have come true.”
Back in 2013, Filton residents packed into a meeting of South Glos Council at which they persuaded councillors not to sell the building off for possible demolition.
At the time councillors voted unanimously to sell the landmark house to counselling organisation Network Counselling for £250,000 - the lower of two bids on the table.
Councillors were told that the building should remain a community asset.

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