Important news about Urchfont Manor

Some of you may already know that Wiltshire Council have decided to close Urchfont Manor and sell it in the very near future.  This will mean no more wonderful courses, no more use of the wonderful grounds, and no more of that wonderful and delicious food.  They have decided this with no public consultation, and if someone hadn’t got ‘wind’ of it and begun a fight, probably without anyone knowing.  There is more information here, which just happens to be the Liberal Democrats Wiltshire Council website.  From what I have been told there has been the inevitable manipulation of figures, and, as in most cases like this, everything is being kept secret.  It is possible that it is already a ‘done deal’, but in the hope that something can be salvaged an online petition has been set up.

Anyone can sign the petition.  Urchfont was the very first  Residential College for Adult Education in the country.  It has been attended by students from all over the country, and also from all over the world.  This year alone I know that students have come from as far away as New Zealand and the USA.  The petition states:

‘We the undersigned petition the council to Retain Urchfont Manor as an adult education facility, or support any bid by a purchaser for the property that intends to maintain it as a residential adult education centre.

There has been very little public consultation on the proposal to sell Urchfont Manor, please lend your support.’

You can help by registering your interest and signing here.  This might be more important than you think because local business men have already expressed an interest in buying the property and continuing Adult Learning at the site.  This would be very good news, and your signature could help persuade the council that this is a good idea.

Author: nuvofelt

Colour has been business for a number of years. Crochet is one of my current means of expression and I enjoy enabling other creatives. Some of my blogs are kept as daily records. Take a look and you will see.

30 thoughts on “Important news about Urchfont Manor”

  1. I saw a post somewhere else that it was closing but didn’t know about the petition so thanks for highlighting it. I have registered and signed.

  2. I signed that. I’m in favour of Adult learning and learning for life. It should be useful learning though. I’m not that keen on ‘media studies’ where they have lots of expensive equipment to make a 5 minute video that only only Mummy and Daddy ever watches. We have elderly people near me at a University of Third Life or some such nonsense, studying forensics. I imagine they take each others fingerprints. Other projects seem worthy but they seem to have a huge amount of money to do very little and someone is brought in from outside of the area to organise it. That is annoying when we have so much local talent.

  3. I am, or rather was until I recently retired, an Adult Educator and know how extremely difficult it is to find a suitable, regular learning environment for the adult learner. I have registered and as soon as the confirming email comes through, I will definitely sign the petition.

  4. How wonderful to shine attention on this issue! It’s crazy how things of such huge importance are made by a handful of people and in the quiet of the night! I hope your focus brings it the closure into the open~

  5. I have signed that petition and wrote a letter to Jane Scott, Council Chair. I have also signed to support The Barklam family. They wish to continue as adult ed. I love my weekends at Urchfont doing City & Guilds Level 3 in machine embroidery with Lynn Horniblow. I look forward to seeing you both there.

    Maeve Baker

  6. I am the younger daughter of Martin Pollock, whose own father lived at Urchfont. My grandfather owned it, and My dad grew up there. A after the tragedy of his parents’ deaths there in 1941, following the war, (when it was used to accommodate and treat children with TB), my father sold it (cheaply, I am sure) to Wiltshire CC specifically to be used for the benefit of the community as it has been, so wonderfully, ever since. It has been a resource much loved by so many and it contributes incalculably to peoples’ well-being. How can it simply be decided to end it at the drop of a hat and without consultation? It is morally wrong and must not be allowed to happen! The offspring of the Pollock family would all be heartbroken if this happened! My father would be totally devastated. I will lend my hand to any protest I can (we never knew the details) and I wish you all good luck in your efforts. Please keep in touch. I am trying to find out all I can about any possible Covenants to the original sale, etc and happen to be staying at Urchfont this weekend (for my first time ever) on a course – mainly so I could experience being in what was a family home and is now such a wellrespected and loved residential educational establishment. I will try hard to be – and remain – hopeful. We MUST put all possible pressure on the Council re this issue!! Warm good wishes from Lisa Robinson (nee Pollock) – from Blockley, Glos.

  7. I do hope a public outcry has been started, and that ways and means are being sought to overcome whatever (one would hope!) absolutely dire problems have contributed to such a drastic decision. Are the Council bankrupt? Even so, they can’t take such action without proper consultation, unless they are more backward and autocratic than the radical authorities in completely ‘backward’ countries. Even in my home South Africa, this would be fought to the last ditch.

    1. Yes, thankfully this is being fought. If you would like to sign the petition to add your voice (visitors do come from all over the world) please do so via the link above.

  8. I am an American who enjoyed a wonderful week at Urchfont back in 1996 and have never forgotten the hospitality, the beauty of the surroundings, and how much my husband and I enjoyed chatting with local people who had come for various adult education courses. Losing Urchfont would be a shame. I don’t know if my foreign signature counts for much on the petition, but I love Urchfont and I did sign the petition. I’ll be watching this with interest.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to join in. I don’t have any more details at the moment, but as soon as I do I’ll be posting again.

  9. I am very sad at the thought of Urchfont being sold off, they say it is losing money, but Somerset manage to make a go of running Dillington House very successfully. I mentioned this to someone at Urchfont and they said “Dillington is run in a very different way”. Maybe Wiltshire needed to get their act together and run it like Dillington then! I am sure there would be ways to raise the money from grants of various kinds to do the repairs, from the Lottery, etc, even in these straightened times. It doesn’t seem like there has been much attempt to solve the preblems, it makes one wonder if someone is already after buying the property. I hope that Lisa Robinsom may have some luck and that there may have been a clause in the sale to keep it for educational use, etc. I have signed the petition and hope something can be done to stop the closure.

    1. Bee, this is a very political decision, and the full truth hasn’t been disclosed. Sadly, even local politicians sometimes can’t be trusted.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  10. Reblogged this on Urchfont Manor and commented:

    This post is somewhat out of date, but the situation is that at today’s date the Manor is still to close, but is not yet on the market. It’s fate still hangs in the balance (officially)

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