Royston man’s bid to save childhood home

FEARS a Royston man’s Victorian era childhood home could be demolished have sparked a race against a time to list the building.

Robert Bradfield grew up in the flint clad farmhouse at Ivy Farm in Baldock Road, which is on a plot now being developed for 100 houses.

A chance conversation with a workman revealed that Redrow Homes may demolish the house which dates from around 1890, and Mr Bradfield, 66, is now trying to have the building – which he believes is a former toll house and of historic interest – listed with English Heritage.

The retired horticulturalist, of Shrubbery Grove, said: “I lived there 60 years ago, and my understanding is that the house was the old toll house as it sits on the road between Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

“I have to see if the information given to me by my parents was right, but it just seems to me a rather unfortunate result of modern redevelopment that they put 26 houses where there was one.

“I was disappointed to find out the house wasn’t listed.”

Mr Bradfield’s sister was born in the house, and he lived there from 1944-57 before the family emigrated to Australia.

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Local historian and town councillor F John Smith said: “It’s sad to see any old building go, but it depends on the intrinsic architectural value of the building.

“I’m not sure it’s amazing architecturally from any point of view.”

Cllr Smith also cast doubt on the claim it was a toll house.

But Mr Bradfield thinks that the unusual hexagonal shape of the building combined with its age and flint cladding is unusual enough to warrant listing.

“I can’t imagine the council would be too happy if any other flint building in Royston was demolished,” he said.

The property features on plans drawn by the developers, whose documents state the rear of Ivy Farm house may predate 1890.

However, Redrow Homes could not confirm the house would be retained.

A spokesman said: “We are currently liaising with planning officers at the local authority about options for the existing farmhouse building on our Hedera Green development.”

North Herts District Council said it had not received an application to alter or replace the existing farmhouse.

A spokesman for English Heritage said this week: “We have received an application from a member of the public to consider Ivy Farm, Baldock Road, Royston, for listed status.

“We are currently considering the case.”