WORK has finally started on the renovation of a historic house in Trowbridge despite protests by more than 170 local residents over the past few years.

Ashford Homes (South Western) Ltd is working on Courtfield House, which was once on Historic England’s At Risk register.

The company received full planning permission and listed building consent in April 2022 to restore and convert the Grade II* listed in the centre of Trowbridge.

It plans to convert the house into four apartments and build 16 new homes in the 1.65-acre site.

Wiltshire Times: The masterplan for the redevelopment of Courtfield House.The masterplan for the redevelopment of Courtfield House. (Image: Ashford Homes)

Development director Tom Griffiths director said: “Courtfield House is a Grade II* listed building on Historic England’s At-Risk register, and we are delighted to be able to secure the future of the building and the traditional orchard within its grounds.”

Wiltshire Council granted consent for the plans submitted by Ashford Homes’ associated company, Doric Developments (Bath) Ltd.

The Bradford on Avon-based housing developer has already demolished the relatively unaltered 19th century wool store next to the former Georgian house.

Wiltshire Times: Work has stated on Courtfield House. Photo: Trevor Porter 69675-2Work has stated on Courtfield House. Photo: Trevor Porter 69675-2 (Image: Trevor Porter)

Courtfield House is a clothier's house built circa 1754 with an earlier 17th century building to the rear.

The house was once used by the Roundstone Preparatory School which closed in 2011. Afterwards, part of the site continued to be occupied by the Pauline Morphew Dance School until 2017.

After the dance school relocated, the building fell into very serious decline and in 2018, was designated as a ‘heritage asset at risk’.

The developer was forced to erect scaffolding around the house to help stabilise the ever-deteriorating structure, which had been vacant for a decade.

In recent years, the building and the wool store had been subject to vandalism and arson attacks.

Wiltshire Times: The wool store next to Courtfield House has already been demolished. Photo: Trevor Porter 69675-3The wool store next to Courtfield House has already been demolished. Photo: Trevor Porter 69675-3 (Image: Trevor Porter)

The proposed scheme includes the formation of a new vehicle access road off Polebarn Road and the provision of a communal public open space to the rear of Courtfield House.

This would include a partly replanted traditional orchard and additional landscaping as well as an area of hardstanding for vehicle parking.

Residents at the adjacent Court Mills objected to the developer’s plans to access the site from their road, which they said was too narrow to take an increase in traffic.

Locals also objected strongly to plans to fell some of the apple trees in the traditional orchards to the north and rear of Courtfield House that were subject to a group Tree Preservation Order.