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The Hunsbury Hill Centre

Key Reports
Executive Summaries

June 2007
(Minor corrections Sept 2007)

Produced on behalf of:


Northamptonshire ACRE
by Karen Cropper
The Hunsbury Hill Centre Restoration Project Steering Group
accepted this document as the final report at their meeting
on 25th June 2007 and it was formally accepted by
the NACRE Board of Trustees at their meeting on 18th July 2007.
By accepting this document, it does not necessarily mean
that all of the recommendations will be implemented, but that the aim is
to implement as many of the recommendations that are feasible and
practical within the budget available and conservation constraints.

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Contents

1 Introduction ....................................................................................................... 1
1.1 Contents of this document ............................................................................... 1
1.2 Funding............................................................................................................ 1
1.3 How the Plans fit together and what happens next .......................................... 1
2 Executive Summary of Conservation Management Plan............................... 4
2.1 Introduction ...................................................................................................... 4
2.2 Content ............................................................................................................ 4
2.3 The Significance of the Hunsbury Hill Centre .................................................. 5
2.4 Associated documents..................................................................................... 5
2.5 Conservation policies....................................................................................... 6
2.6 The use of the Conservation Management Plan.............................................. 8
3 Executive Summary of Audience Development Plan ..................................... 9
3.1 The Brief .......................................................................................................... 9
3.2 Context ............................................................................................................ 9
3.3 Local Demographics ........................................................................................ 9
3.4 Tourism............................................................................................................ 9
3.5 Education context .......................................................................................... 10
3.6 Methodology .................................................................................................. 10
3.7 Current audiences.......................................................................................... 10
3.8 Future audiences ........................................................................................... 10
3.9 Audience Development Objectives ................................................................ 11
3.10 Audience Development Programme .............................................................. 11
3.11 Audience Development Plan.......................................................................... 14
3.12 Monitoring and Evaluation ............................................................................. 14
3.13 The Full Audience Development Plan............................................................ 14
4 Executive Summary of Access Plan .............................................................. 15
4.1 The Context and Brief. ................................................................................... 15
4.2 Accessibility Context. ..................................................................................... 15
4.3 Local Demographics. ..................................................................................... 15
4.4 Key Legislation. ............................................................................................. 15
4.5 Accessibility Principles................................................................................... 15
4.6 Access Audit. ................................................................................................. 16
4.7 Consultation with Disabled People. ............................................................... 16
4.8 Travelling to the Hunsbury Hill Centre. .......................................................... 16
4.9 Results of Consultations. ............................................................................... 16
4.10 Equality and Diversity Sensitivity Training. .................................................... 17
4.11 Marketing and Promotion Strategy. ............................................................... 17
4.12 Summary of the findings of the Access Audit................................................. 17
4.13 Access Audit – Key Recommendations. ........................................................ 18
5 List of Other Documents and Information available..................................... 19

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1 Introduction

1.1 Contents of this document


This document includes the Executives Summaries from three plans that have been
commissioned by Northamptonshire ACRE (NACRE) for the Hunsbury Hill Centre
Restoration Project:

• Conservation Management Plan - explains the heritage significance of the


site and sets out what NACRE will do to look after it in any future use,
alteration, development, management or repair. This piece of work has been
carried out by Richard Wood of DEK Architects, and, as part of this piece of
work, a Bats and Nesting Birds Survey, a Condition Survey and a gazeteer
(database) of room datasheets has been prepared.
• Audience Development Plan – provides a structure for planning the specific
activities that will allow Northamptonshire ACRE to reach existing and new
target audiences and to offer them a high-quality experience that presents and
interprets the heritage of the site. This piece of work has been carried out by
Nicky Boden.
• Access Plan – identifies the barriers to access, priorities for overcoming these
and itemised action plan. These barriers may be organisational, physical,
sensory, intellectual, social and cultural, and financial. This piece of work has
been carried out by Phil Chambers of CEM Ltd.

1.2 Funding
Northamptonshire ACRE has funded these pieces of work thanks to a Project
Planning Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with matched funding from the Phillips
Charitable Trust and Northamptonshire ACRE's reserves. The time that members of
the Project Steering Group have contributed as volunteers has also been attributed
as matched funding 'in-kind', according to the rates accepted by the Heritage Lottery
Fund.

1.3 How the Plans fit together and what happens next
Figure 1 gives a summary flow diagram of how the Plans fit together. In the period
July to September 2007 there will be a process of taking the recommendations from
the three Plans and finalising the details of the overall project scheme. The intention
is to make a further application to the Heritage Lottery Fund and other funding bodies
for the capital works involved in realising the vision of:

In 3 years time Northamptonshire ACRE would like the Hunsbury Hill Centre to be an
established site of heritage significance on the tourist map that people can visit by
appointment or on special Open Days and offers a programme of educational
activities with a building specifically set up for educational visits.’

The cost of the capital works will depend upon the final detail of the scheme, but
early indications are that the total project cost will be in the region of £1m, in which
case the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund would be in the region of £900,000
and £100,000 matched funding would need to be raised from other sources.

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Figure 1: Hunsbury Hill Centre (HHC) Restoration Project
Stages and Inter-relationship of Documents

Initial Strategic Commitment Feasibility Study


• Agree commitment to restore HHC • Architect's report on what
• Initial access statement with broad might be possible
principles • Broad costs involved

Fundraising for Project Planning Phase


• Heritage Lottery Fund application
• Local Trusts applications

Audience Research Access Audit and Research Condition Survey and


• Review other • Identify barriers to access Historic Research
heritage attractions by all for current uses of • Review information
in vicinity site already known and
• Survey current and • Identify potential barriers identify gaps
potential new to access by all for • Historic report
audiences possible new uses of site • Condition Survey
• Focus groups and and new audiences • Detailed surveys of
consultation with key • Consultations with key each room for
stakeholders stakeholders datasheets

Audience Access Plan Conservation


Development Plan • Details access barriers Management Plan
• Identifies current and solutions • Description of
and potential new • Action Plan and costs HHC
audiences and their for options of improved • Assessment of
requirements access for current and historical
• SWOT analysis new audiences significance
• PEST analysis • Guidance on required • Identified
• Action Plan standards and how to Vulnerabilities
• Local Strategic achieve these • Conservation
Context Policies

Completion of Project Planning Grant funded work

Options Appraisal
• Description of options
• Financial implications of each option
• Organisational Implications of each
option

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Steering Group & Board of
Trustees agree preferred
option

Other documents required Fundraising for Development and


• Training Plan Capital Phase
• Outline Business Plan • Heritage Lottery Fund application
• Education Policy • Local Trusts applications
• Accurate Budget • Local Authority applications
• Forecast of income and • Other general fundraising
spending
• Equal Opportunities
policies
• Charging or pricing policy If Fundraising is Successful
• Energy, transport and
environmental policies

Development Phase
• Architect - detailed drawings
• Planning Permission
• Planning Supervisor
• Quantity Surveyor - detailed
costs
• Mechanical Engineer
• Electrical Engineer
• Structural Engineer
• Project Manager

Construction/Implementation
Phase
• Tendering for construction
contract(s)
• Contractors on site
• All professionals from
Development Phase
supervising/monitoring
progress

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2 Executive Summary of Conservation Management Plan
Full report and summary by Richard Wood of DEK Architects
This summary outlines the purpose of the Conservation Management Plan and
the policies which have been adopted for the care of, and assessment of the
impact of proposals for change to, the buildings and grounds at the Hunsbury
Hill Centre to protect the historic significance of the site. The term ’site’ means
the buildings and their content and the grounds which provide their setting. The
summary provides a description of the content of the full Plan and associated
documents. For further details on any aspect of the content reference should be
made to the full Conservation Management Plan.

2.1 Introduction
The purpose of the Conservation Management Plan is to provide a framework
against which proposals for repair or change and general management
decisions which affect the Hunsbury Hill Centre (HHC) property can be
assessed to ensure that there is no adverse effect on its significance.

The Plan aims to look at all aspects of the site, its history, context, past and
current usage, which contribute to its significance. It is a guide which should be
accessible to all who have an interest in the site, should be regularly used to
assess the impact of proposed repairs and alterations, and reviewed and
revised to incorporate new information and the effects of change.

2.2 Content
The content of the Plan is based on the description in “Conservation
Management Plans” published by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Plan is
produced to demonstrate a full understanding of the historic site and to provide
background information which will allow a thorough understanding of the impact
of changes and the need for conservation of the site. This will allow any
proposal for change to be assessed against the policies set out in the Plan to
ensure that the historic significance of the site is protected for present and
future generations.

The Plan contains information under the following headings:


• Summary - a summary of the plan content
• Background - information on the site, owner’s organisation, purpose of the
Plan, scope and limitations, consultation and adoption stages.
• Understanding the site - information on the site, historical background, social
history, management, details of the site’s interest and areas for further
investigation.
• Assessment of significance - details of the significance of the site,
architectural context of the buildings, historical development, its community
value and cultural importance, its context in history and the geography of the
area, details of ecology and wildlife, its educational and recreational value
and the historical significance of the site as a whole and its elements.
• Vulnerability and related items - present and proposed uses, sensitivity of
elements of the site, areas of conflict, management issues, external factors
affecting the site, accessibility, health and safety issues, community
expectations, the physical condition of buildings, previous alterations and

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statutory control, boundaries, the setting of the site and limitations on
resources.
• Conservation policies - policies for the use, management and maintenance
of the site, conservation philosophy and protection of the historic interest,
potential for change, requirements for protection of the setting, coordination
of elements of the site, improvement to access and interpretation, the impact
of alterations, provision of facilities for visitors, statutory requirements and
maintaining site records.
• Implementation and review - the use of the Plan and recommendations for
review.
Appendices contain further information and references to where more
details of aspects of the site referred to in the Plan can be found. Advice on
further reading material and a glossary are included.

2.3 The Significance of the Hunsbury Hill Centre


The Hunsbury Hill Centre houses administration and community facilities for
Northamptonshire ACRE, the Rural Community Council for Northamptonshire.
The site comprises a group of farm buildings built in 1770 with adjacent land
providing access and car parking, woodland and a sloping paddock, all that
remains of the original farm land. The significance of the site lies in the
construction of the farm buildings as a model farm shortly after the enclosure of
the land. The original farm was built in an octagonal shape around a central
courtyard, this arrangement making best use of the farming methods of the
period. This arrangement of a complete farm built at one time is called a ‘model
farm’.

Subsequent alterations and additions have occurred but the farmhouse and
most of the barns around the courtyard which date from the original construction
are substantially unaltered. It is this which gives special significance to the site.
The site was in use as a working farm until 1976 when it was acquired by the
Northampton Development Corporation and leased by the Northamptonshire
ACRE who later purchased the freehold. Some farming activities continued after
1976 on a much smaller scale but ceased when the land was developed for
new access roads and housing.

The construction of a model farm is rare, most farms developing after enclosure
of the land from existing farmsteads. Hunsbury Hill Farm is believed to be one
of the earliest model farms in the county and perhaps the best preserved.

2.4 Associated documents


In conjunction with the plan the following separate documents have been
prepared to provide more detailed information on elements of the site. There is
also a site archive containing photographs and documents relating to the site
which may be accessed for detailed information as well as documents in the
County Archive.

The key associated documents are:


• Condition Survey of the buildings, 2006 - a detailed description of the
current condition of the buildings and recommendations for repair

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• Maintenance Plan - a schedule of the repairs recommended in the Condition
Survey with recommendations for regular maintenance requirements
• Building database - a detailed description of the buildings and their
architectural and historic features
• Photographic archive index - an index of all known photographs of the site
• Audience Development Plan - an assessment of the existing and potential
uses of the site (see section 3 of this Executive Summary)
• Access Plan - a review of the accessibility of the site and recommendations
for improved access (see section 4 of this Executive Summary)

Figure 2 The Hunsbury Hill Centre Date


1 Offices (Farmhouse) C18
2 Mrs Burman’s Cottage (hog sty & cow house) C19
3 High Barn (Hay Barn) C18/C19
4 Bar (Cattle Hovel) C18
5 Cart Hovel C18
6 BBQ area (Cattle Hovel) C18
7 Cattle shed C19
8-9 Cattle shed C19
10 Store C19
11 Cattle shed C19
12 Low Barn (wood hovel & stable) C19
13 Open space (barn) C18
14 Parking area (Implement shed) C20

2.5 Conservation policies


Section 6 of the Plan sets out the policies adopted by the Board of Trustees at a
meeting on 21 February 2007. These will be used as a basis for assessment of
all proposals for maintenance of and alteration to the site. The policies

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(numbered as set out in the full Conservation Management Plan) are set out in
full below:

6.1 Identifying appropriate uses


Uses of the Centre will be considered against the effect of the use on the
historic fabric and character of the site. Where a use is not considered
appropriate to the available building stock an alternative facility may be
considered in other buildings which may require refurbishment to accommodate
the use, or if none can be identified, outside the site.

6.2 Management of the Centre


Operational decisions in relation to the management of the Centre should
continue to consider the conservation of the site and these decisions will now
be reviewed against the policies set out in this Plan.

6.3 Maintaining the site


The ACRE trustees should continue to ensure the future conservation of the site
through a regular programme of inspection, maintenance and repair in
accordance with priorities identified in the Condition Survey of the buildings and
recommendations relating to other aspects of the site and the effect of
proposals for repair shall be considered against this Plan.

6.4 Conservation philosophy


Repair and maintenance works on the site buildings will be carried out using
materials and methods of workmanship in accordance with acknowledged
methods of conservative repair. Alterations should be carried out in a way which
will allow a reversion to the previous form without loss of historic fabric or
materials. The effect of work on specific features of the site may require advice
to be sought from specialist consultants.

6.5 Protection of the site


The ACRE will endeavour to maintain the historic integrity of the site and
consider all project proposals against the policies set out in this Plan.

6.6 Potential for development of the site


All project proposals shall be considered against this Plan to assess the effect
on the site and ensure that no adverse effect on the significance or removal of
historic material results.

6.7 Protection of the setting


All external influences which may affect the significance of the site shall be
monitored and representations made as appropriate to resist proposals which
could have an adverse effect on the site or its environment.

6.8 Coordination of elements of the site


The different features of the site will be considered in the context of the whole
site and consideration will be given to the effect of proposals for one element on
other elements of the site.

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6.9 Improvement of access
Proposals for improved access and facilities for persons with disabilities shall be
encouraged but will need to be assessed against the policies of this Plan. The
effect of these measures must be balanced against the safeguarding of the
significance of historic buildings and site while ensuring that the requirements of
statutory regulations are met.

6.10 Interpretation of the site


Wherever public access is offered to the buildings and environs, consideration
should be given to providing information which will allow a full appreciation and
understanding of the site.

6.11 Impact of alterations


The impact of repairs and alterations to the site will be considered by
undertaking an impact assessment for all projects affecting the site.

6.12 Provision of visitor facilities


Proposals which provide improvement of facilities for visitors shall be
encouraged but will need to be assessed against the policies of this Plan.

6.13 Statutory requirements


All proposals shall be processed through the statutory control procedures
relating to listed buildings and protection of ecology. The requirements of new
legislation and regulations should be assessed so that the Centre can be
advised of the likely effect of legislative changes. This Plan cannot override
legislative requirements but the effects should be considered against the
policies of this Plan.

6.14 Maintaining the site records


Before any alterations are undertaken the affected area will be recorded and the
information added to the site archive records. Archive material will be made
available to interested parties. Any new material obtained should be reviewed
for inclusion in the site archive.

2.6 The use of the Conservation Management Plan


The Plan should be used as a working document by all connected with the site
and referred to when any work on the elements of the site is proposed. This will
allow all repair and alteration works to be assessed and the impact of the
proposals determined against the adopted polices which aim to conserve the
significance of the site.

When changes are made to buildings, their setting or contents, these changes
should be recorded and the Plan, associated documents and the site records
updated. The Plan should be reviewed to take account of changes to the
physical environment, relevant legislation and to incorporate new or additional
information as it becomes available.

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3 Executive Summary of Audience Development Plan
Full report and summary by Nicky Boden

3.1 The Brief


Northamptonshire ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) has been
awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Planning Grant for the restoration of the
Hunsbury Hill Centre (HHC). The Centre is a Grade II listed 18th Century model
farm which includes a large farmhouse, barns, animal sheds and hovels set
around an octagonal courtyard. The Centre accommodates offices for
Northampton ACRE, (located in the farmhouse) and two large barns which are
available for hire for business and community use.

NACRE has a vision for the future development of the site, which focuses
particularly on developing provision for the education and community sectors.
The vision is:

In 3 years time Northamptonshire ACRE would like the Hunsbury Hill Centre to
be an established site of heritage significance on the tourist map that people
can visit by appointment or on special Open Days and offers a programme of
educational activities with a building specifically set up for educational visits.’

This Audience Development Plan (ADP) is informed by this vision and by two
other interrelated plans, the Access Plan and the Conservation Management
Plan. It seeks to provide an overview of existing users and identifies missing
and potential new audiences for the Centre and potential ways of increasing
audience participation.

3.2 Context
The ADP meets specific key objectives of the county-wide cultural strategy,
‘Cultural Pride’ developed in 2003 for Northamptonshire. The Plan is also
informed by the findings of previous research into audiences who visit heritage
and rural sites commissioned by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

3.3 Local Demographics


The local demographics help to contextualize potential audiences and give a
picture of the likely profile of new audiences in the area in terms of age, gender,
ethnicity, work status and deprivation. Statistics from the 2001 Census indicate
that the majority of local visitors to HHC are likely to be white, middle aged and
reasonably affluent. They are less likely to come from an ethnic group. Statistics
illustrate that the percentage of Black Minority Ethnic (BME) groups in
Northamptonshire in 2001 was lower than the national average, and groups that
do live in the area comprise predominantly of Black Caribbean and Indian
ethnic groups, with smaller numbers of Bangladeshi and Pakistani people.

3.4 Tourism
Northamptonshire is rich in cultural and rural heritage and is often described as
the ‘county of squires and spires’. There are a large number of historic houses
and many open areas of land and forested areas. However, there are currently
very few sites which provide opportunities for visitors to learn about agricultural

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history and in particular farming. There is, therefore, considerable potential for
HHC to offer a different visitor experience drawing on its unique selling points.
These include the rich agricultural heritage, ancient history of the site, idyllic
semi-rural site and an excellent location within easy access of the motorway
network and therefore accessible to visitors from across the region.

3.5 Education context


A number of recent education initiatives including the ‘Out of the Classroom
Manifesto’, the ‘Growing Schools’ agenda and the ‘Year of Farming’ (2007-
2008), provide a valuable context for HHC to develop a formal education
programme. Initiatives, such as these, help to endorse the importance of
integrating outdoor learning activities into everyday teaching practice. There are
also numerous potential links to the National Curriculum, in particular to
subjects such as History, Geography and Science, with particularly strong
references to Key Stages 1 and 2.

3.6 Methodology
The methodology for this ADP has focused on the following potential
audiences: the general visitors (including local and neighbouring populations);
schools; young people; special interest and community groups. Public
consultation has included: the distribution of 4 questionnaires designed for
different audiences; 3 focus group meetings and meetings with stakeholders
and potential partners, including young people from Northampton Youth Forum.
Staff from NACRE and representatives from the Restoration Project Steering
Group have also participated in workshops to analyse the strengths, weakness,
opportunities and threats involved in developing the site for new audiences.

Consultation has focused on gauging current perceptions and interest in HHC,


the potential for education/community use of the site and preferences regarding
the future development of the site including aspects such as interpretation,
activities and facilities.

3.7 Current audiences


HHC has over 12,000 visitors using the site each year. The majority of bookings
are from the general public followed by statutory organisations and companies.
The existing users who responded to the consultation were predominantly
white, female, middle aged, employed. About 50% had families with dependent
children and most have visited the site for the purpose of either a social event
or meeting.

The majority of existing users who responded to the consultation expressed an


interest in visiting heritage sites and would be interested in visiting HHC as a
heritage site rather than just as a venue for meetings and events. They
particularly like the tranquillity and original character of the setting and the
accessibility of the location, although some users have expressed that the
current facilities could be upgraded.

3.8 Future audiences


From the analysis of the data collected during the consultation period and
NACRE’s database of previous users, it is clear that there are a number of

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groups of people who can generally be considered as missing or potential
audiences for HHC. They include:

• General public (particularly local and neighbouring populations)


• Visitors with disabilities
• BME visitors
• Elderly visitors
• Schools and other education groups
• Young People
• Socially disadvantaged/low incomes
• Family groups

These groups are similar to the profile of non-users identified in previous


research commissioned by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

3.9 Audience Development Objectives


The Audience Development Plan has identified a number of objectives for
developing audiences at HHC. They include:
• Promote the educational value of HHC to schools, FE and HE providers
locally and regionally.
• Promote the better understanding and enjoyment of HHC as a unique
heritage site amongst wider audiences particularly those who are currently
under-represented in visiting the Centre.
• Improve existing audiences understanding and enjoyment of HHC through
enhanced facilities, services and information provision.
• Raise awareness of HHC and its enhanced facilities and services
regionally and nationally.
• Develop partnerships and build relationships with local groups and
organisations to explore joint working/funding opportunities.

3.10 Audience Development Programme


A number of recommendations have been developed which complement the
vision of NACRE. These include:

a) Awareness raising
A priority for HHC is to raise awareness of the heritage value of the site
particularly amongst existing and new audiences. Recommendations include
developing new promotional material, re-designing the website and developing
stronger partnerships with the local press to follow the ‘story’ of the restoration
of HHC. Specific educational publicity also needs to be developed to attract the
schools market and a database compiled with up-to-date contact details. HHC
should also explore the scope for partnerships with the local authority to host
training events for teachers which would provide an ideal opportunity to
showcase the site.

b) Access improvements
A number of changes need to be put in place to make the Centre more
accessible. The Access Plan outlines these recommendations in detail and a
number have informed the ADP. Particular recommendations include the need

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to develop multi media interpretation, clear signage, ensure promotional
material incorporates inclusive design and utilises alternative marketing formats
and developing relationships with under-represented groups.

c) Partnership Development
There is scope for NACRE to utilise its expertise in building mutually beneficial
partnerships by developing strong relationships with local groups, organisations
and regional agencies in the area, particularly local schools and community
groups. Partnerships could provide joint funding and marketing opportunities or
support through work placement and voluntary assistance.

d) Information and interpretation


HHC needs to develop an interpretation programme which ensures the Centre
is as relevant, accessible and interesting to as wide a range of people as
possible. An overarching Interpretation Policy and Strategy should be
developed which takes into account visitors preferences and the needs for
multi-media formats to ensure access of information for all. Numerous different
approaches could be developed to interpret the site, for example an information
booklet, a living history film, computer actives, hands on interpretation such as
handling materials, walks and talk’s programmes and the possible future
development of a small interpretation Centre.

e) Activities and events


NACRE should develop a varied and interesting programme of events and
activities when the site is open to the public. Activities should be aimed at a
wide audience including underrepresented groups and could include sensory
farm trails, nature and woodland walks, holiday activities, and Open Days linked
to national events such as Heritage Open Days, Architecture Week and Family
Learning Week, etc

f) Facilities and services


It is important to provide all visitors with the appropriate quality and quantity of
facilities and services to ensure an enjoyable, supportive and safe visit. If
NACRE do decide to host school visits, they will need to provide facilities to
accommodate the minimum of one class of approximately 30 pupils, who would
stay on site for at least half a day or a full day. NACRE should also be aware
that some schools may wish to bring more pupils, up to two classes, which
would be approximately 60 pupils. Given the potential schools market, certain
facilities will be essential to accommodate new audiences, including: a safe
drop off point for coaches, adequate toilet provision and sinks, an indoor or
covered outdoor space for packed lunch and an area to leave bags and coats.
NACRE should also consider upgrading their current kitchen facilities and
improving the car park area.

g) Education
If NACRE is to implement an Education Programme, it should be aimed at
increasing the knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of all visitors to the site,
including existing and potential new visitors. It should offer opportunities for
visitors of all ages to:

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• Learn about the history and heritage of the farm and local environment
• Develop new skills
• Handle original or replica artefacts
• Engage in practical workshops
• Explore and discover the flora and fauna in the woodlands
• Participate in and enjoy a programme of special events and activities.

Recommendations from the consultation with teachers and educators include:


• Converting some of the existing hovels and sheds into a multi–purpose
educational resource room;
• Developing a mini farm area with livestock in the outer yard area;
• Programming activities which relate to the History, Geography and
Science curriculum areas;
• Developing environmental education projects and producing
teachers/group leader’s resource materials.
• There is also considerable scope to develop partnerships with Further
and Higher Education institutions and adult and community learning
groups.

h) Volunteers/Friends
Opportunities could be developed for local people to get involved through
volunteering or becoming a friend of HHC to support the future development of
the site through volunteering, profile and fund raising activities.

i) Travel
A number of recommendations concerning travel have been highlighted in the
Access Plan. NACRE could also explore the possibility of using a mini bus
shuttle service from the Hunsbury Hill Country Park to HHC during Open Day
(to relieve the pressure on the car park).

j) Charges
The majority of people (93%) who responded to the consultation said they were
prepared to pay an entrance fee, but HHC should bear in mind that cost can be
a real barrier for visitors, particularly those from under-represented groups. Cost
can also detract visitors from making a return visit. However, if HHC has to
charge, it may be feasible to charge up to £2.50 per adult and £1-£1.50 per
child and £2 per pupil (to include a ‘goody bag’ and resources) for school visits.
It would be advisable to also consider a sliding scale of charges to
accommodate different types of activities.

k) Staffing
To fully implement an education and audience development programme, it will
be necessary to recruit dedicated staff, at the very least an Education and
Audience Development Officer supported by in house or additional
administrative support. This has revenue implications for the organisation.
NACRE could also explore the possibility of developing a team of education
volunteers to support school visits.

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3.11 Audience Development Plan
The ADP provides a comprehensive menu of potential projects identified under
the audience development objectives. These activities take into consideration
recommendations from the Access Plan and have been identified against a
menu of options to indicate the level of engagement required.

3.12 Monitoring and Evaluation


Appropriate evaluation mechanisms need to be put in place to ensure that any
future audience development work at the Hunsbury Hill Centre is fully evaluated
to inform good practice in the future and to monitor the impact of audience
development work.

3.13 The Full Audience Development Plan


This is the Executive Summary of the Audience Development Plan for the
Hunsbury Hill Centre. The full report and appendices include:
• Full details of the methodology for the consultation
• Key findings from consultations
• Recommendations
• The Audience Development Action Plan

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4 Executive Summary of Access Plan
Full report and summary by Phil Chambers of CEM Ltd

4.1 The Context and Brief.


Northamptonshire ACRE was awarded a Heritage Lottery Fund Project
Planning Grant, for the Hunsbury Hill Centre Restoration Project. This is a
Grade 11 Listed model farm, (circa) 1770 comprising a large farmhouse, barns,
animal sheds and 'hovels' set around an octagonal yard. Two large barns are
available for community use and the farmhouse is used as offices.

This Access Plan is informed by an Access Audit, policy review and


consultation with local stakeholders. It should be read in conjunction with the
Conservation Plan and the Audience Development Plan. The aim is to identify
the barriers to access at the Hunsbury Hill Centre. The role of the consultant,
CEM Ltd, was to assist NACRE in reviewing its policies, relevant legislation,
consult with stakeholders, and identify barriers to access and to develop a
strategy for improving access in the future.

4.2 Accessibility Context.


Disabled people and Black Minority Ethnic (BME) groups are under-represented
in visiting heritage environments. They benefit from Inclusive Environments
which meet everyone’s needs whatever, their age, gender, ethnicity or level of
disability. Despite a sloping site and man made barriers, much can still be done
to improve the accessibility and raise visitor numbers at the Hunsbury Hill
Centre. This includes consultation with stakeholders, improved physical access,
information, interpretation and transport planning.

4.3 Local Demographics.


The local demographics help to gauge prospective services against potential
demand from disabled and BME communities. It is estimated that there are
more than thirty eight thousand disabled people living in Northampton. The
Council for Racial Equality identifies Northampton as “a typical English town” in
terms of its ethnic mix. Black Caribbean and Indian ethnic heritage groups are
the most populous of BME groups, with smaller numbers amongst Bangladeshi,
Pakistani, Somalian Polish, Lithuanian and Irish people.

4.4 Key Legislation.


The Race Relations Act makes it illegal to discriminate against anyone on
grounds of race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or racial origin.
Legislation affecting accessibility looks to providing “reasonable access” to the
environment for disabled people. Relevant legislation includes the Disability
Discrimination Act (2005); Building Regulations Part M & BS 8300(2001) Code
of Practice Design of Buildings and their Approaches to meet the needs of
Disabled People and Public Planning Guidance (PPG) 15. (2001) - Planning
and the Historic Environment.

4.5 Accessibility Principles.


Conservation of the environment, engineering needs, financial resources all
effect what “reasonable adjustments” are required to meet the law. It is not

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essential to make all places accessible to all disabled people all of the time.
This is recognised as the Principle of Least Restrictive Access (PLRA). PPG15
states that disabled people should have “dignified access to and within historic
buildings”. Where a conflict does arise between access and conservation at the
Hunsbury Hill Centre then conservation principles should on balance take
precedence.

4.6 Access Audit.


An access audit was carried out on the entire site and benchmarked against the
Countryside for All Urban and Formal Standards with regard to the green-space
and the Building Regulations and BS 8300 for the historic buildings.

4.7 Consultation with Disabled People.


Ability Northants, representing a cross section of needs amongst disabled
people attended a site consultation visit. They felt that the opportunity to
provide access into the former animal sheds and hovels was a challenging yet
very worthwhile objective. There was also face to face and telephone
consultation with local BME stakeholders. A visit was made to DOSTIYO which
is a community support and outreach project in Northampton primarily working
with Asian Women.

4.8 Travelling to the Hunsbury Hill Centre.


A key barrier is that there is not a convenient bus stop for the Hunsbury Hill
Centre, the nearest being on Hunsbury Hill Road, approximately 360m away via
footways. Disabled people wishing to travel in their own vehicles are restricted
by a lack of “blue badge” parking. There is not convenient parking for
community hire vehicles either. On site pedestrian access is difficult as
footpaths often have gradients which are steeper than 1:12(8%) and there is
very little way-marking, signage or seating on the site. Steps should be taken to
improve these issues and staff should be trained to provide information about
transport and accessibility at the Centre.

4.9 Results of Consultations.


The stakeholder feedback was very helpful in informing the Access Plan. The
key issues identified were that the sloping site militates against easy access.
Well designed footpaths with a minimum gradient of slopes are necessary to
link up the key buildings. Improved parking, handrails on steps, resting places,
better lighting and particularly clear signage would be beneficial. The possibility
of access into the Farmhouse, former animal sheds and hovels and the
possible internal lift in the High Barn was welcomed. Multimedia information and
interpretive services are required to complement improved physical access
around the site.

The Hunsbury Hill Centre was described at DOSTIYO as a “serene and


peaceful place” that would be attractive to many people from ethnic
communities. The onsite kitchen was particularly useful to groups preferring
traditional ethnic dishes. It was not generally felt necessary to offer translation
services. Information in Clear and Plain English was preferred. The
Northampton Bengali Association was the only organisation consulted who
preferred to receive information about the Hunsbury Hill Centre in their

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member’s first language. The most important issues identified by the disabled
people’s group and people from BME communities was the need for clear and
uncomplicated information and signage, both on the site and available before a
visit takes place.

4.10 Equality and Diversity Sensitivity Training.


Accessibility can also be improved through having well trained staff. It is
recommended that NACRE provides staff at the Hunsbury Hill Centre with
Equality and Diversity Training to enable them to fully respond to the needs of
visitors with a diverse range of needs. Disabled people and representatives of
BME organisations should be positively involved in the process.

4.11 Marketing and Promotion Strategy.


Social Exclusion is most likely to occur through “indirect discrimination”. This is
particularly true in the case of marketing and promotion, as often the needs of
excluded groups are simply not met by generic promotional media. There are
many good opportunities for disabled people and people from BME
communities to enjoy and to learn about the Hunsbury Hill Centre. It is
important that opportunities should be promoted effectively to them. It is
recommended that a Marketing Information System (MIS) database is
established by NACRE to enable it to communicate directly with disabled and
BME organisations. The Hunsbury Hill Centre should be promoted as an
inclusive environment and in particular to people who are not presently visiting
historic environments or who may feel that they are not for them. To meet this
need the Hunsbury Hill Centre promotional media should be particularly
targeting disabled people, BME communities, older people, young people and
people on low incomes.

There is need to promote to a diverse market and promotional media should


particularly show positive images of people who are not normally represented at
historic and heritage places. To be socially inclusive NACRE should be
enabling visitors to make an informed choice and to learn of opportunities that
meet their particular needs. The Council for Ethnic Minority Communities
(CEMC) said that they do not currently hold any promotional information about
the Hunsbury Hill Centre, so are unable to promote it to their members.

The use of multimedia communication tools are required to promote the


Hunsbury Hill Centre to underrepresented groups. This should include
traditional leaflets, website promotion and media provided in a mix of formats to
meet individual needs. However, the best form of communication is face to face
and through underrepresented groups themselves promoting the excellent
services that the Hunsbury Hill Centre aspires to.

4.12 Summary of the findings of the Access Audit.


The Access Audit identified a range of current barriers to access, which are
summarised below:

• Access to the Farmhouse for prospective disabled employees;


• Adapted Toilet Facilities;
• Accessible and Adapted Parking;

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• Poor paths which pose trip hazards and are not uniform in the design
construction;
• Steps and level changes;
• Slopes steeper than 1:12 without resting pads;
• Paucity of Seating or Resting Places around the site;
• Poor Signage and Way–marking;
• Poor lighting along paths and at places of interest;
• Lack of Interpretive Services;
• Disjointed access between the Upper Part of the Site – Farmhouse, High
Barn and Low Barn - and the Lower Part of the Site, the former Animal
Sheds and Hovels.
• The lack of an accessible external route around the perimeter of the Site

4.13 Access Audit – Key Recommendations.


A wide number of recommendations have been made in connection with
overcoming the barriers to access. The general theme is to adopt the principles
of Universal Design. These are summarised below:

• Access to the Farmhouse for people with mobility impairments including


wheelchair users
• The creation of a network of footpaths around the Hunsbury Hill Centre
linking key places of interest and major buildings
• The provision of “blue badge” accessible parking facilities
• Clear signage and improved seating and lighting around the site
• Internal lift access within the High Barn linking the meeting area and the
balcony
• Improved access to Mrs Burman’s Cottage and integrating footpath
access with the High Barn and possibly the front entrance of the
Farmhouse
• Improved access to the former animal sheds and hovels, providing new
access points and linking this area with the areas which are presently
well used such as the High and Low Barns
• Providing interpretive services to meet the needs of people with sensory
impairments around the site and particularly the former animal sheds and
hovels
• Reviewing and extending safety services and facilities to meet the
needs of sight and hearing impaired visitors
• Create perimeter access linking the main site buildings; this may be for
pedestrian access, although vehicle access is recommended.

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5 List of Other Documents and Information available
• Historic Report by Rod Conlon, Updated June 2007
• Condition Survey of the Buildings, 2006
• Maintenance Plan, June 2007
• Building database
• Photographic archive index
• Bat and Nesting Birds Survey Reports September 2006

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