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City & Country Challenge Dismissed on All Heritage Grounds

Melissa Murphy

City & Country sought to challenge a decision letter issued by the Secretary of State in relation to 36 appeals, all of which concerned land at Bramshill in Hampshire. Although one of the appeals has been remitted (dealing with various existing modern buildings on the site), the key parts of the claim, which were about heritage, have all been dismissed.

The National Trust considers that Bramshill House, a Jacobean mansion, is one of the most important country houses in England. Its magnificence, the extent of survival of original fabric, plus inventories, together with significant royal connections, all put it in the front rank of such buildings in terms of the opportunities it offers to understand court life and culture in the early modern period. That is combined with the exceptional, probably unique, survival of an early seventeenth century water garden with its associated mansion, in a palimpsest of Jacobean and later designed landscape. Whilst of course supportive in principle of finding new beneficial use for the mansion and its grounds, The National Trust has been determined to ensure that those features which make Bramshill so special are not lost in the process.  It participated in the High Court proceedings with that in mind.

Melissa Murphy represented The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty, joined to the claim as an Interested Party in light of the exceptional historic interest of Bramshill and the Trust’s longstanding connection with it.

Judgment: City & Country Bramshill Limited v. SSCLG, Hart DC, Historic England and The National Trust [2019] EWHC 3437 (Admin).