Historic Dunford House could become a wellness centre despite friction

Plans to turn the historic Dunford House into a single home or a wellness centre have caused a stir.

Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 4:02 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 4:04 pm
Nick Cobden-Wright as Dunford House
Nick Cobden-Wright as Dunford House

Dunford House was owned by politician Richard Cobden known for his campaigning for peace and the part he played in fighting the unpopular corn laws of the time.

The West Lavington house was gifted to the YMCA on the condition it was used for educational purposes but the charity caused controversy when it announced it would be selling the property.

Uncertainty over Dunford House artefacts ‘saddening’A pre-application submitted late last year for the change of use of the building be turned into, preferably for the developers, a wellness centre.

But if the wellness centre is not successful, the developers would like to turn the building into one residential dwelling, a prospect which has been described as ‘the worst possible outcome we could expect’, by the Richard Cobden’s great-great-great-grandson Nick Cobden-Wright.

Under a heading of ‘The Vision’ part of plan reads: “For some time now we have been looking for a building which is able to house our vision and do justice to what we wish to achieve.

“We are delighted to have found it in Dunford House and incredible excited about bringing this building back to life and giving it real purpose in this twenty-first century.

“We strongly feel that out mission is one which if Richard Cobden were alive today, he would not only support but would actively canvass for with the vigour and passion he was so renewed for.”

He has been at the helm of the fight to preserve the history of the estate for the community.

Having spoken to a number of residents and other stake holders, Nick said: “What is really fuming for a lot of people is that they can’t comment on the application.

“They are submitting plans for a massage parlour and games room.

“It’s nouveau riche gone wrong.

“The most chilling thing is they got any of the artefacts they would just put them in a glass box at the entrance.”