Petition launched to save one of the oldest buildings in Milton Keynes from crumbling away

The historic property is privately-owned but in a bad state of repair

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 1:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th August 2021, 1:06 pm

A petition has been launched to save one of the oldest houses in Milton Keynes.

The Wrestlers at 51 Tickford Street in Newport Pagnell dates back to the 15th of 16th century but is in a poor state of repair.

Once a pub known as The Two Wrestlers, the theory that its earliest landlords were wrestlers, who hosted wrestling matches.

The Wrestlers is steeped in history

The wattle and daub-built Grade 2 listed building was originally an ancient medieval house-hall, and newspaper dating from 1675 has been discovered while carrying out repair work.

It is the oldest dwelling in the town and its unique and ancient architecture, plus its association with Salmons Coachmakers and history as a town pub means it must be "carefully and respectfully preserved", says the Newport Pagnell Historical Society.

But the property, latterly used by a car repair business, is in a bad and even dangerous state of repair and needs large amounts of money spent on it.

This week the historical society has launched a petition calling for Milton Keynes Council and the Newport Pagnell Town Council to investigate and issue an 'Urgent Works Notice' to force the repairs and preserve the building.

The petition states: "Structural damage is evident from the exterior, specifically between the door and window...We urgently call on the councils of Newport Pagnell and Milton Keynes to investigate and put forth an Urgent Works Notice as required, to safeguard the preservation of this unique and ancient building."

Earlier this year owner Julie Lally submitted a planning application to part demolish and repair the building, then convert it into two two bed homes and build a two storey extension to provide a further nine one-bed dwellings.

Her agents, Building Tectonics, of Fenny Stratford, said the owner had found herself trapped by the enormous costs of repairing the historic building, which is currently worth nothing on the property market.

They put together the 'escape plan' application after a year of talks with heritage gurus at Milton Keynes Council.

The agents said at the time the place housed a successful car repair workshop.

But they added: "The cost of refurbishing the listed building that is in an unsafe state could not be justified or even financed by the current enterprise. It is impossible...My client is fully aware of her legal and moral obligation in respect of the listed building and wishes to find a solution – an escape plan.”

The intention was to retain, repair and adapt the buildings of historic interest, demolish other ‘industrial sheds’ and build new fit for purpose dwellings on the site.

But the planning application was refused by the council's development control committee and the building has continued to deteriorate since.

Some older local people remember it as a pub, where the then owner Cyril Cole pulled pints until its closure in 1956. It was then used as a private dwelling for a spell before becoming The Wrestlers Garage.

You can view the Newport Pagnell Historical Society petition here.