Monday, 5 September 2011

Nocton Hall - time for change

Email to North Kesteven District Council - dated 18th August 2011

'I would really appreciate a further update on progress with the Options Appraisal for Nocton Hall. This matter has been dragging on for so long now and I’m sorry to say there has been very little information forthcoming from NKDC without prompting from the local community.

I remember Karen Bradford announcing quite some time ago that the report would be published July and most likely a decision made in August. I appreciate more time might have been required, but I do feel our Council are duty bound to keep us informed. There has been a terrible record of ‘stagnation’ with this heritage listed property historically (some for good reason, some not) and we do not want this to return any time soon.

I do know that English Heritage are involved in this matter too and there are quite important decisions to be made... but please... we would really appreciate more feedback.

Nocton Parish Council are aware that I am chasing this matter.


Further email to North Kesteven District Council with copy to Local Councillors, Local MP, English Heritage, ArtsNK and CLAN - dated 4th September 2011


The history surrounding this Grade 2 listed ‘at risk’ property is long and chequered. We hope at long last there is going to be some ‘concrete’ action taken over saving/preserving what structure there is left.

You may wish to note that following the very active campaign against the plans for a mega-dairy, the community in Nocton have come together to form CLAN – Community Led Action for Nocton – see: Since I moved to the village in 2005 and started to research its history, I have held a vision that we can salvage something from the Nocton Hall ‘saga’. With that in mind, I think the time is ripe for representatives of the local community to meet with representatives of NKDC and English Heritage, to evaluate how the Options Appraisal report may fit with any future Parish Plan that is going to be drawn up for Nocton village.

Whilst much of the Hall is most likely unsalvageable, there is some of the structure that could perhaps be converted into a Heritage Centre, Licensed Cafe, Art Gallery... and if some of the grounds e.g. walled garden/orchard were also to be compulsorily purchased too, the concept could extend to a public amenity for picnics, walks, sculpture trail etc.

Of course, a solid business case/plan would have to be prepared and funding sought from Lottery and other sources, perhaps with TV/media coverage of the project (e.g. Village SOS), but unless we put a ‘marker in the sand’, nothing will evolve for this once fine building and its heritage will be lost forever.

In absence of any response from NKDC, my first inclination was to make a formal Freedom of Information request for NKDC to catalogue all actions and considerations taken with regards to Nocton Hall, from a date before the great fire, but in retrospect I doubt what this would achieve, other than to possibly embarrass the Council.

I see my current suggestion as having far more merit and should be a more positive way forward. I do hope you agree and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely'

Freedom of Information request to North Kesteven District Council - dated 7th September 2011

'Dear Sir/Madam,

I have been in correspondence with Karen Bradford and Andrew McDonough about Nocton Hall with minimal progress I’m afraid. It is for that reason I have copied correspondence to District and County Councillors, and others. When I wrote to Marianne Overton about making a formal FoI request, she responded, ‘There is no problem with such a freedom of information request. Sometimes it is helpful to have it catalogued.’

Hence my formal request below:

I hereby request under Freedom of Information, an account of all NKDC’s

  • Considerations
  • Decisions
  • Actions
  • Outcomes
  • Applicable dates
with regard to the protection of Nocton Hall as a heritage property in the district of North Kesteven for the period:

  • Year 2000 (when Leda Properties gained possession of the property and grounds) to current date.

I also request copies of all Minutes/Notes of meetings relating to/supporting the above.

Yours faithfully,'

Email from North Kesteven District Council - dated 7th September 2011

'Dear Mr Hall

Thank you for your email of 7th September 2011 which we received on the same day requesting information regarding: Nocton Hall.

Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and will be answered within twenty working days.

In some circumstances a fee may be payable and if that is the case, I will let you know. A fees notice will be issued to you, and you will be required to pay before we will proceed to deal with your request.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely'

Letter from Stephen Phillips QC MP - dated 8th September 2011

'Dear Mr Hall,

Thank you for copying me in on your recent email to North Kesteven District Council regarding Nocton Hall. I am delighted to see that the campaign against the proposals for Nocton Dairy has left such a legacy in the village, and I believe that any use that can be made of Nocton Hall should be carefully considered. I am sorry that you have not yet received any response from NKDC, and I have now written on your behalf to ask that this be rectified. I will send you a copy of the response as soon as I receive it, and please keep me updated as to progress from your end.

Yours sincerely'

Rural communities get less government funding

'People living in the countryside are, on average, getting 50% less government grant per head of population to their local councils and paying £100 a year more in council tax than those in cities, and get fewer public services, according to a report out today.'

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