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Historic farm buildings set to be safeguarded with heritage scheme

A largely hidden treasure of Swansea's heritage could be improved and preserved for future generations.

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The listed buildings of Home Farm, in Sketty, are used as a council works depot with limited public access.

New plans could see the site made more accessible to the public, the buildings sensitively transformed into homes and the location safeguarded for future years.

Swansea Council are behind the scheme which is due to be discussed publicly by the cabinet on April 18.

Robert Francis-Davies, cabinet member for investment, regeneration and tourism, said: "Home Farm offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a wonderful heritage-based development that will enhance its immediate area.

"Our plan would see us refurbish and safeguard these historic pioneering farm buildings for enjoyment by residents and visitors for many decades to come.

"The setting is unique and the result could be a prestigious project that would showcase the exceptional buildings to great effect."

If the scheme went ahead, the council parks staff and operations based there would be relocated. An adjoining area of hardstanding, now used as a store for council parks apparatus and with no public access, would be opened up to the public as sensitively developed new-build housing.

Cllr Francis-Davies said: "Feasibility work is being carried out and throughout this scheme there is an emphasis on conservation, heritage, ecology and the site's special status.

"As work progresses we will consult with CADW, local people and volunteer group the Friends of the City of Swansea Botanical Complex.

"This is an important part of the council's work as we try to get best value for the public from our land assets and as we strive to maintain important structures for future generations. This is crucial as we continue to tackle the effects of austerity which has seen our income from central government fall substantially over the past few years.

"Singleton Park is an urban public park of outstanding historical interest and it will remain so - and we're confident this scheme, with its accent on sensitively preserving our heritage, will improve its reputation."

The proposed Home Farm development comprises 42 residential units, including a mix of refurbished buildings and new-build, including affordable housing.

A pre-planning application was submitted to the local planning authority last year and supported the council's principles for regeneration and development.

This week, the cabinet will be asked to approve a move to seek expressions of interest for a joint venture partner to work with the council on this project and four other sites earmarked for new housing: the former Gorseinon Business Park, in West Street, Gorseinon; land at Mynydd Newydd Road/Milford Way, Penplas; land at Midland Place, Llansamlet; and land at Mynydd Garnllwyd Road, Morriston.

If approved, the council will then produce a detailed scheme plan Home Farm, a brownfield site next to the south-west corner of Singleton Park - and will undertake further survey work to work towards the submission of a detailed planning application.

Initial plans show that there would be no impact on the pedestrian and vehicle access to the park, other than an improved single-lane roadway - with passing places - from Sketty Lane. No significant trees would be removed from the fenced Home Farm site - and no areas of parkland grass would be affected.

Home Farm dates from the mid-1800s. It includes of a small group of farm buildings, yards, stone walls, rails for wagons and the two-storey rubble stone former main farmhouse.

Image: Home Farm. Pic: Google Maps

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