Cefn Ila - The demolition of the coach house and stable block.


I was shocked and dismayed on one of my visits to Cefn Ila to find that work had started on the demolition of the coach house and stable-block and the subsequent construction of a 'bat-roost'. I contacted the Woodland Trust's Cefn Ila site manager at the time to ask about it but there seemed to be some confusion over who actually owned the area around where Cefn Ila once stood i.e. the site of the old house and the ornamental gardens. The site manager was of the opinion that the Woodland Trust owned the whole area, however the demolition and erection of the bat-roost was clearly being carried out by 'Global Combat Systems' better known as BAE Systems or ROF Glascoed. It seems that the Woodland Trust bought the area surrounding Cefn Ila but the remaining small area where the house once stood was retained by BAE for some reason.  It is possible that in 2010, when the rest of the land was offered for sale to the Woodland Trust, there may have been a condition of the sale that the coach house and stable block would be demolished for some reason. The old buildings seemed to be in no imminent danger of falling down and in fact I thought they were in quite good condition for their age.

When I spoke to one of the workmen involved in the demolition work he told me that there where very strict conditions attached to the demolishing and building work (note that both were taking place simultaneously) and that one particular condition was that the driveway had to be put back into condition it was in when they arrived on site, bearing in mind that the driveway was hardly visible having been covered with many years of falling leaves and twigs and had a layer of moss and grass. It is odd that almost immediately the Woodland Trust set about clearing Cefn Ila of unwanted trees and bushes and clearing the driveway - precisely the opposite of the conditions set out by the previous planning application. In his 2017 report 'Pond Restoration - Cefn Ila Heritage Impact Statement', heritage management expert Dr. David Hickie, notes that "it is unfortunate that there will be a loss of the small historic brick manhole chamber" during the restoration of the Cefn Ila pond acknowledging the importance of the buildings and structures (even a brick manhole) still left at Cefn Ila. Dr. Hickie goes on to report about all the other structures and items at Cefn Ila. If only the report had been published seven years previously it may have saved the coach house and stable block from being demolished. In my opinion these buildings should have been preserved as they were or even renovated and this act of vandalism has taken away some of the character of what was left of the old Cefn Ila estate. A big 'thumbs down' for whoever organized the demolition.

You can see the coach house and stable as it was here.

Click an image to see larger version.