For the past year Bournville Architects and Birmingham Conservation Trust, in consultation with the Friends of Manor Farm Park, the City Council and others, have been working on an ‘options appraisal’ for the at present semi-derelict ‘Cadbury Barn’ and adjacent buildings. They have now completed the appraisal.
We are holding a public meeting on Monday 16 March at Shenley Court Hall, 6-8pm at which we will present to the public for discussion and evaluation:
- options for the repair, refurbishment and alteration of the Barn and adjacent farm buildings at Manor Farm Park
- options for new uses for these buildings
- options for new building on the site
- options for funding the work.
Download the event poster: Cadbury Barn Options Apraisal Public Consultation 16 March.
6.00-6.15 Arrival and refreshments
6.15-6.20 Welcome and introductions
6.20-6.45 Presentation on the background and context of the options appraisal (Simon Buteux, Birmingham Conservation Trust)
6.45-7.15 Presentation on the options considered (Adrian Millicheap, Bournville Architects)
7.15-8.00 Questions and discussion
Attendees will be provided with feedback forms, which will be used to help select the option to be taken forward.
Outcome of consultation to date
To date around 400 people have been consulted on the general idea of renovation and reuse of the Barn and adjacent buildings. Consultation has taken place at meetings, open days and by means of an on-line survey. Overall the conclusions from the consultation are that:
- The Cadbury Barn is of historical and local importance to the people of Birmingham
- Its deterioration and neglect over the years is seen as a ‘shame’ and a ‘waste’, and has angered some local people
- There is a genuine fondness for this unique and interesting building and what it represents in terms of local heritage and living community memories
- It should be used for community use, not commercial development
- It should have a multi-functional role and a mix of uses which are of benefit to the whole community
- People are concerned about its security and the risk of vandalism
- The majority of people would like to see a café or catering function, and toilets at the Barn alongside a mix of different and flexible uses
- More facilities at the Barn and a greater offer for local people and visitors will increase footfall in the park.
These views have guided the options that have been considered.
General principles and constraints
In his will, George Cadbury gave Manor Farm, including the Barn and adjacent farm buildings, to the people of Birmingham for use as a public park. Manor Farm Park is held in trust by Birmingham City Council.
At present, the Barn and adjacent farm building and yards are used by the City Council Parks Service as a depot. Some of the buildings are used for offices and storage of plant and other equipment and materials. For the foreseeable future the Council intends that the depot will stay here. All the options considered take account of this fact. However, the site is divided in two by the access road (see Plan 1.), and the Council has agreed in principle that the depot and all activities associated with it can be confined to the east side of the access road. This means that only those buildings to the west of the access road can be restored and used for new purposes. These buildings comprise:
- The Barn
- A range of three buildings including a toilet block
- The Lodge, near the entrance.
It has been agreed in principle that if the Parks Service vacates these buildings, any new scheme will include provision of a new office/toilet block for the use of the Parks Service to the east of the access road.
Changes common to all the options considered
All the options considered involve the following:
- New build of office/toilet block for the depot
- Demolition of the existing kitchen annex to the Barn and demolition of the toilet block at the north end of the range of three buildings (reducing it to a range of two buildings). These demolitions have the effect of dramatically opening up the view of the Barn from the Bristol Road side, and providing much better access to the existing car park to the west of the Barn.
- Refurbishment as a Small Meeting Room, with office and toilet facilities, of the single-storey building currently in the centre of the range of three buildings.
- Creation of a terrace along the north (front, park-facing) side of the Barn. This can be used for external seating etc. in the summer months.
- Construction of a new combined kitchen and toilet annex at the west end of the Barn. The toilets will be accessible both from inside and outside the Barn. The kitchen will have hatches serving both the inside of the Barn and directly to the outside (i.e. onto the terrace).
- Repair and refurbishment of the Barn as large open-plan space, capable of being used for a variety of community purposes
- Repair and refurbishment of the two-storey building at the south end of the present range of three buildings (refurbishment for what depends on the Option adopted).
- Repair and refurbishment of the Lodge (refurbishment for what depends on the Option adopted).
- Insertion of a gateway across the access road about halfway along its length. This will separate access to the depot from access to the rest of the site, and will facilitate control of vehicular access.
Option 1: Residential Units
In this Option, the Lodge and the two-storey building at the south end of the range of buildings are refurbished for residential use. They can be either rented or sold on a long lease (thus retaining ultimate control by the Manor Farm Park Trust). The income generated would be used to support the operation of the Barn and the Small Meeting Room.
Pros: residential use of buildings will contribute significantly to combating vandalism.
Cons: just two residential units may not generate sufficient income.
As Option 1a but with the addition of up to three new-build residential units.
Pros: Five residential units will generate significantly more income and create a small community.
Cons: Do stakeholders believe that new build and this level of residential use are appropriate and desirable?
As Option 1b but with the creation of a new access road and additional parking, for both residents and public, along the western side of the site.
Pros: creates significantly more parking spaces (and possible revenue from charging for parking). Allows the creation of a pedestrian ‘courtyard’ to the rear of the Barn, which can be used for events and exhibitions.
Cons: potentially intrusive and expensive.
As Option 1b but with creation of an overspill car park in the park, accessed from the existing car park.
Pros: creates significantly more parking spaces (and possible revenue from charging for parking). Less intrusive and expensive than Option 1c.
Cons: does not allow for creation of pedestrian ‘courtyard’.
Option 2: Residential Sheltered/Supported Accommodation
Construction of new build, single storey supported accommodation, incorporating alteration and refurbishment of existing two-storey building – 8 beds in total.
Pros: several potential user organisations identified. Community value in accord with Cadbury ethos. Residential use of buildings will contribute significantly to combatting vandalism.
Cons: Do stakeholders believe that new build and this level and type of residential use are appropriate and desirable?
As Option 2a but with the creation of a new access road and additional parking, for both residents and public, along the western side of the site.
Pros and cons: same as for Option 1c.
As Option 2a but with creation of an overspill car park in the park, accessed from the existing car park.
Pros and cons: as Option 1d.
Option 3: Office Use (or mixed Office and Residential)
Repair and conversion of Lodge and existing two-storey building for office accommodation.
As Option 3a but with addition of new build extension to the south of existing two storey building, creating a substantially larger office space. Lodge either residential or offices.
Pros: potential user organisation identified, who may also administer Small Meeting Room and Barn.
Cons: if no residential element, site security is more compromised.
As Option 3b but with the creation of a new access road and additional parking along the western side of the site.
Pros and cons: same as for Option 1c and 2b.
As Option 3b but with creation of an overspill car park in the park, accessed from the existing car park.
Pros and cons: as Option 1d.