Campaigners bid to save Edwardian farm near Farnborough from destruction

  • Watch the report by ITV Meridian's Charlotte Briere-Edney

A project to save a derelict Edwardian farmstead from destruction is gathering pace, as campaigners wait to hear whether the buildings will be granted listed status.

Earlier this year, Minley Farm near Farnborough was earmarked for demolition by the Ministry of Defence, who wanted to replace it with a steel-clad training structure.

But local activists objected to the plans, and Hart District Council rejected the MoD's application.

The campaign group, Save Britain's Heritage, has now applied for the farm to be given listed status, which would give it greater protection from demolition.

Minley Farm circa 1903

The farm has an unusual history. Completed in around 1900, it was once part of the sprawling Minley Manor estate, and was built to complement the chateau-style Manor House. The model farmstead was designed to reflect changes in farming in the years following Britain’s Great Agricultural Depression.

The entire Minley estate was bought by the War Department in the 1930s, and while the Manor has been sold on since, the farm, and thousands of acres of surrounding land are still owned by the Ministry of Defence.

But as campaigners wait to find out if it will be listed, there is growing concern about the condition of the buildings.

Local resident Charles Craven-Bartle said: "It’s been quite upsetting to see year after year the way that the building has been left to rot basically. There doesn’t seem to have been any care taken by the MoD at all to look after it."

Parts of the Edwardian farm are now overgrown with shrubs and trees

The Ministry of Defence could not tell ITV News what had been done to maintain and protect the buildings, but will be facilitating a visit from Historic England to view the farm.

Campaigners say with investment, Minley farm could be transformed into a local attraction. 

"There’s so much potential here, it’s literally at our fingertips," argues Henrietta Billings from Save Britain's Heritage. "It’s still standing today and it’s still extremely beautiful, it’s got lots of potential and there’s absolutely no reason to demolish it. Instead, there’s this great opportunity to re-use it and repair it and bring it to life again."

Locals are concerned that if left for too long, parts of the farm will be beyond saving.