Salisbury Civic Society Conservation Awards

Salisbury Civic Society has announced its 2020 Conservation Award Scheme.

The awards recognise work to existing buildings. The panel, chaired by former Salisbury Museum Chair of Trustees, Susanna Denniston, also included Lynda King, Elaine Milton and Lynne Pearson.

The aim of the awards is to promote respect and visual enhancement for historic buildings in Salisbury and its surrounding area. The awards have been running since 1993 and alternate year on year between the work to enhance existing building and new buildings.

The Awards are granted by the Society to projects of outstanding merit. Commendations are given for schemes whose impact is less dramatic, but which still deserve recognition.

The panel met on 12th October to consider 12 nominees, two of which fall within the city and ten outside of Salisbury. After lengthy discussion and site visits, the judges made 9 awards and one commendation.

Here are the awards made by the judges in full (in no particular order):

Conservation and Refurbishment of 53 and 53A St Ann Street, Salisbury

A fully committed project had rescued this building from dereliction, proceeding with due care for the retention of historic features which still survived, and ending with two very habitable houses, with accommodation of a far higher standard than that previously on the site. Two shopfronts had been left in situ, with no more than essential changes, and two former windows had been reinstated, with considerable visual benefits. A separate house had been created from part of the building, with a raised roof achieving an additional storey, with no loss of character. The project was seen as achieving a renewal which provided a boost for this corner of the city, very valuable in these difficult times.

Designer: Pamela McConnell, JPMC











2) Petersfinger Farm, conversion of farm buildings to residential

Residential conversion of old farm buildings does not always retain the original character, but in this case an exemplary approach had been taken. Buildings which had clearly seen better days had been stripped of inappropriate additions, and made suitable for residential use, without any unnecessary loss of their original character. An internal courtyard, with the buildings ranged around it, was particularly successful. Care had clearly also been taken with the new domestic interiors, with original roof timbers remaining fully visible. The relationship to the landscape around had been carefully considered, with a wildflower meadow planted to enhance the setting of the development. A high level of commitment was visible throughout.

Architects: Proctor Watts Cole Rutter, Shaftesbury





3) Restoration of Harewarren Cottage, Wilton

In a very secluded location in the woods south of Wilton House, the cottage had originally been for gamekeepers, but by the time the current owners took it on it was derelict and badly vandalised. The work that had been put in to rescue it from this state was very impressive. It hasn’t been altered or extended, and retains its original and very attractive appearance. Internally, the cottage has been transformed, from something debris-strewn and uninhabitable to a clearly much loved house. Original features have been kept and upgraded, with modernisation only where necessary. Most of the work was done by the owners themselves, with a total commitment to a thoroughly successful project.






4) Bridge at Waterside Villa, Mere

In the area of Mere known as Waterside, where a footpath runs along the western side of the Shreen Water, a remarkable collection of bridges connected to properties on the other side. The Victorian wrought iron one at Waterside Villa is probably the most notable of them, but had fallen into in a very poor condition, until the owners acted to save it. Made by a local craftsman, it was repaired by one as well, with a combination of refurbished components and new ones, where necessary. It once again embellishes this unique corner of one of the region’s most distinctive towns and is one of the awards scheme’s more unusual winners.






5) Methodist Chapel, Mere, conversion to residential

The former Methodist chapel is a distinctive listed building within the Mere conservation area, with a typical high interior with a gallery at the entrance end. The judges were impressed by the work put into retaining the basic character of the main chapel space, with the gallery altered and imaginatively re-used. A later school room at the rear had enabled an added floor, and the creation of an impressive amount of accommodation and ancillary features. Important original features had been retained, and the conversion had created an excellent house, without losing the qualities of the chapel.







6) Hillcroft, Chicksgrove, extension

Hillcroft is a simple early C18th stone cottage, with a rendered 1960s extension at one end, of no merit. This still remains, but so modified in its impact by the new work as to lose most of its negative effect. A further extension now predominates and masks much of the older one, with vertical cedar cladding as an effective contrast with the cottage’s original materials. A single storey projection outwards from the new extension takes advantage of some excellent views. All the new work has been given a contemporary finish, including zinc roof and aluminium windows and doors, maintaining the quality of the house without trying to imitate its original C18th character.

Architects: Favonius Architects, Salisbury




7) Summerleaze House, E Knoyle, extension

Summerleaze House is a C19th stone house of some quality, with splendid views to the south, which were not being fully taken advantage of. A new single storey garden room has enabled the creation of a very substantial combined kitchen, dining and sitting area. The latter is within the new garden room building, and has stunning views across the surrounding countryside. Two of the walls are fully glazed, utilising very large pieces of glass which can be slid back in good weather, making the garden room truly one with the garden. Its contemporary finish makes a good contrast with the rest of the house, and the transformation of this part of the building has created a wonderful asset.

Architect: John Comparelli, Tisbury




8) The Old Rectory, Fonthill Gifford

This is a substantial house, and various changes and additions had led to it at one point being three separate dwellings, now converted back to a unified whole by the award-winning work. On one side an untidy straggle of elements, of little aesthetic quality, had been replaced by a carefully designed and executed neo-Georgian kitchen wing, creating a much enhanced western view of the house. Great trouble had been taken in procuring the right window glass for a new bay, reproducing the uneven effect of original C18th window glass, and thereby lending additional character to the windows. The quality of new interiors was impressive, and the whole house had benefited enormously from the work.

Architects: Richmond Bell Architects, Salisbury





9) Old Fovant House, Fovant

Modern additions to Old Fovant House had not done it any great favours. The main focus of the work was on rebuilding an unattractive garage in order to create an excellent kitchen, replacing one which had been located in a cramped and almost windowless space at the back of the house. A conservatory had also been replaced, to provide a dining room area as part of the kitchen, and given a cleverly shaped roof, to enable views of terrace and garden areas behind the house. High standards of detailing, material selection and workmanship had clearly gone into creating a much improved house, with a keen architect’s eye visible throughout.

Architect: John Comparelli, Tisbury





Extension at Downton Memorial Hall

Downton’s hall, with its distinctive portico, is a major feature in Downton’s main street. The increasing need for community space led to this new extension at the rear, designed to provide meeting rooms and an office, and to house the Downton nursery school. Facilities at the original hall were also improved. The judges were impressed by the care which had clearly been taken with the extension to match the quality of the hall, without attempting to slavishly copy its style. Materials were well chosen, and the interiors were of high quality. This was felt to be a project which demonstrated community involvement at its best, with the village clearly much involved, and a much improved building being the end result.

Architects: Paul Stevens Architecture, Salisbury



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