Building of the Month February 2022: Hillcrest School and former stables, Ansford Hill, Ansford, Castle Cary, Somerset BA7 7JQ

Built in honey-coloured local stone, this former rectory, dating from the 18th century and its stables, added in the 19th centruy, radiate warmth and charm.  The buildings are separately listed grade II (LEN: 1056271 (former school) and 1177113 (former stables)). The handsome old rectory building has a pedimented central front door in a bay which projects forward slightly.  The listing entry describes the railings running along the front in detail and notes how they enhance the setting of this lovely house.  To one side and set back, the stables have decorative gothic arched windows with tracery. The buildings appeared in SAVE’s 2018 publication “Too Good to Lose – Historic Schools at Risk” and have been on our Buildings at Risk Register since 1999.

The most recent use of the buildings was as a school but they have now been empty for over 20 years.  Over this time, the buildings have been targeted by vandals but they are now fenced off and secured.

There has been previous permission for the conversion of the stables into two cottages and some limited repair work.  However, work has never progressed or progressed very slowly, leaving the buildings empty and vulnerable.   Although the council is aware of the buildings and in the past has sought to take action, it appears that no action is likely to happen in the near future and this leaves these lovely buildings in limbo.