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Brighton's listed buildings are left to 'decay'
8:09pm Friday 25th April 2008 in News By Lawrence Marzouk, Local Government Correspondent
Listed buildings in a historic village are being "left to decay" by a council.
Neighbours of the Long Barn and Donkey Wellhouse in Stanmer Park, Brighton, have attacked Brighton and Hove City Council for not carrying out maintenance and repairs on the Grade II buildings.
The Stanmer estate covers 5,000 acres of mainly parkland but it also has a village street with 18 houses, a long barn and farmhouse.
The wellhouse, next to Stanmer Church, was damaged by a falling tree last year.
The roof has since been covered by tarpaulin while the council has been attempting to arrange insurance payment.
The historic structure, rebuilt in 1838, includes a vertical donkey wheel which was used to pull up water and is one of the last remaining examples in Sussex.
The Long Barn has been empty for two and a half years after the tenant, a farmer, quit.
Neighbours want to use the space for the community as their original facility was sold to entrepreneur Mike Holland as part of his acquisition of Stanmer House.
The building was put up in the mid 18th century in coursed flint.
Jamie Hooper, of the Friends of Stanmer Park, said the buildings were "decaying under Brighton and Hove City Council ownership without any visible plans of future" and called for action.
He said: "It is so frustrating that it takes so long to get anything done.
"It is complete inertia from the council in taking this forward.
"I am worried these buildings will deteriorate and then the council will say it is uneconomic to do anything.
"We would like some community space since we lost the Victorian Rooms."
The council has acknowledged the delays and says it is drawing up a plan for the buildings' future.
A spokesman said: "The delay on these is partly caused by waiting for the outcome of an insurance claim.
"We are concerned about the state of the buildings and we share the community's view that they should be brought back into use as soon as possible.
We hope to find a plan in consultation with local people and announce the next step as soon as possible."
Last year, The Argus revealed the future of the barn was being discussed by a new "asset group" set up by the council.
Minutes of a Stanmer Park stakeholders' meeting revealed: "The council has commissioned an architect to draw up a plan of the building to enable the asset group to propose and consult on possible uses."
In 2006, Home Farm in Stanmer Park was occupied by squatters who said they were bringing an empty building back into use.