THE BCH ARCHIVE
LOCAL HISTORY FOR
And The Surrounding District
Fir Tree Cottage Page 3
In 1973 a prospective purchaser applied to the Conservators for a Wayleave giving right of vehicular access and this was refused.
In 1978, Tim Cameron bought the cottage from Theresa Cull. The Conservators had offered her £800 and Tim offered £2000. Tim's money came from the sale of the engine and gearbox from a racing car he wrote off at Shelsley Walsh. Tim says that the Conservators wanted to buy it to demolish it, but he outbid them. This would be consistent with their policy stated in a Conservators' publication of about 1980 “The purchase of old and unsightly buildings high on the hills, and the subsequent demolition and landscaping of the sites with the return of land to public ownership, has also been of major importance”. However, it is misleading to say that the Conservators land is in public ownership, because it is not. It belongs to the Conservators as a registered charity and they are not, in the legal sense of the word, a public body.
At this stage, basic work to weather proof the building was undertaken including a new tin roof over the existing tin roof.
Tim Cameron outside Fire Tree Cottage in 1980
In 1980 Tim bought Dales Hall and needed to raise some funds. He sold Fir tree Cottage to a close friend from Birmingham, still in a rough state. The new owner advised the Conservator's Ranger, Mr Parsons, that he intended applying for permission to haul material to the cottage in order to restore it. Damage had already been caused transporting materials and this was to be made good by Severn Valley Landscapes (Tim Cameron's company).
In 1986, change of use from an agricultural store to a dwelling was refused.
The old wash copper was demolished and an extension started without planning permission on old footings by a contractor who had a caravan on the site (which he lived in during the summer) but it had to be taken down again. The new owner never lived there and did nothing more to the property.
It was sold in 1991 to Joanna Cameron (Annie) (Tim's daughter) and her partner Roger Bates and David Judson (as friend of Tim Cameron's). In January 1992 Malvern Hills District Council enforcement officers visited the property and a list of works required to make it fit for human habitation was greed with the environmental health and housing department – more or the less same as been noted when it was condemned in 1956:
1. Provision of a bath or shower, wash hand basin and water closet in a bathroom each with supplies of hot and cold water.
2. Provision of a kitchen including a sink with supplies of hot and cold water and other suitable facilities for the preparation and cooking of food.
3. Provision of a suitable drainage system.
4. Provision of a wholesome and sufficient water supply piped to the property.
5. Hack off any damp or defective wall and ceiling plaster and suitable replaster.
6. Replace the defective staircase.
7. Provide a hand rail to the staircase and suitable bannisters around the srairwell in the bedroom.
8. Hack off all defective or cracked rendering and either re-render of point the exposed stonework.
9. Provide suitable guttering to the roof.
10. Complete the necessary repointing of the walls.
By June they had brought it up to standard and added a septic tank and re-instated the well, to fulfil the habitation requirements and they moved in over the weekend of the Castlemorton Rave. Roger subsequently separated from Jo and 'bought out' Jo and David' in December 2005 and now lives there with his wife, Beverley and her two children.
Although there was still no legal vehicular access, any breach of the byelaws seems to have been ignored. The CROW Act of 2000 opened the way and a Wayleave was finally granted by Ian Rowat, Director of Malvern Hills Conservators, on 25 July 2005, for £5000.
In 1999, Roger Bates was granted planning permission for an extension to create a living room and utility area where the former lean-to scullery had been.