I have been asked to give an update on what is happening to Blake’s cottage so I feel I must tell you what I know.
I wish I could say the news is good or encouraging but sadly, I can’t. No repairs of any kind have been done since the Blake Cottage Trust took over on September 21st 2015,which is now eighteen months away – except for putting in those steel supports to hold the roof up ‘pro tem’. The 500 strong petition that I gathered last year was presented to Tim Heath ion November as publicly as I could do it, so that he couldn’t say he hadn’t seen it, but I was wasting my time and that of all the concerned people who signed it, because he has totally ignored it.
So now what can any of us do? It’s obvious that the BCT hasn’t been able to raise the funds to repair our Blake’s cottage. Nothing has been said about it by any of them, but, if they’d collected any money at all, Tim Heath would have blazoned it all over the newspapers. And he hasn’t said a word. English Heritage haven’t got the money to help and no other organisation seems to be even remotely interested in it.
The Felpham Village Preservation Society, which is the local organisation that should be at the centre of local agitation about it – their motto being Protect Preserve Promote – is silent. One reason for that is that very few of them know what is actually going on – or, to be more acccurate, what is not going on and why. I have offered to meet with them and tell them what I know but my offer has been sternly refused by their Chairman – even though there is a sub-group within the organisation that is specifically committed to ‘keeping a watching brief on Blake’s cottage.’ It is a total impasse and leaves me feeling demoralised and exhausted.
I fear that the BCT’s inablity to raise funds will mean that the cottage will continue to be neglected in the months ahead. And eventually it could fall into such a very poor state that it will be condemned as dangerous and pulled down. That would be a very sad end to the most prestigious and historic building in Felpham village. But is there anybody out there who is prepared to help it now?