Residents urged to rally as decision day looms for historic Conygre House
Published on: 20 Jun 2013
The future of Filton’s historic Conygre House - one of the last reminders of ‘old Filton’ - will be decided next month.
Residents are being urged to lobby a meeting of South Glos Council which will consider offers to buy the 400-year-old former farmhouse.
Local people are fearful that the Conygre area will lose another asset and also that there could be the prospect of homes or flats replacing Conygre House.
The council, which owns the building, decided to sell Conygre House in 2005.
Since then, the council has worked with Friends of Conygre House to establish whether it could be run as a community venture.
Costs now mean this seems unlikely and the building and gardens have been on the open market.
It is understood bids have been received, including one from a counselling service which residents say would be beneficial to the area.
However Filton Town Council was told that there was a ‘significant difference’ between this bid and the highest bidder.
The town council has now written to South Glos saying that Conygre House, if sold, should remain a community asset.
Around 30 local people gathered outside Conygre House to express their views on the sale.
They were addressed by chairman of Friends of Conygre House and recently elected town councillor Keith Briffett.
He said: "We are worried that they will go for the highest offer then just pull it down.
"We don’t know who the bids are from but we believe that the £250,000 bid from Network training and Counselling would mean the house would offer a very good balance for the community."
Mr Briffett told residents that with the decision looming, he was keen for as many people as possible to lobby the meeting of South Glos on July 1 at the council HQ in Thornbury, beginning at 7pm.
Protesters were also backed by town council chairman Darryl Collins and Councillor Brian Freeguard who said that there were some protections in place for trees in the grounds.
Bert Weenink, below, from Bristol-based Network Counselling and Training, said his organisation wanted to turn the house into a counselling service for people with a range of issues, including bereavement, depression, relationship problems and addictions.
He thanked residents for the positive response he had received and added that if successful, his organisation would make space available for community use in the house. He said that funding was from trusts.
Some residents said they believed bat colonies lived in the house, which could affect any future activity on the site.
Protesters are now looking to lay on a bus to take people to the meeting.
If anyone is interested in attending, they should contact Mr Briffett on 0117 969 1504.
Picture by Rikki Teml