Local craftsmen praised after heritage award

JPCT 200712 Cottage at Pear Tree Farm, Billingshurst, received Sussex Heritage Award. Owner Tracey Poulton and craftsmen from Ayling and Rayner who worked on project. Photo by Derek martin
JPCT 200712 Cottage at Pear Tree Farm, Billingshurst, received Sussex Heritage Award. Owner Tracey Poulton and craftsmen from Ayling and Rayner who worked on project. Photo by Derek martin
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Owners of a winning property in this year’s Sussex Heritage Awards have praised the craftsmen who contributed to the project.

Tracey and Anthony Poulton, owners of Pear Tree Farm in West Chiltington Lane in Billingshurst, a two-cottage property within 33 acres of farmland, took the Sussex Heritage Small Scale Residential Award earlier this month.

The two buildings are believed to date back to around 1553 and 1649 respectively.

Luke Ayling, of Ayling and Rayner, said: “It is a great moment when the detailed work we take on gets this sort of respected recognition.

“This has been a very complex project and we have worked hard to keep within budget, in time frames and manage a multiple number of trades from start to finish. I just love taking on restoration project, but like the cottages entwining new modern elements as well.

“This project allowed us to put our hand to a range of building techniques from Wattle and Daub panels to reinstating what is believed to be the oldest window in Sussex.”

The cottages are thought to have been used as hunting lodges for the Arundel Estate and originally owned by the Duke of Norfolk. Plans were devised by Nye Saunders after the couple bought them in June 2009, taking on the task of renovating and restoring the ancient dwellings into a single family home and working with Horsham District Council’s listed buildings and conservation adviser, Catherine Jeater.

Sussex Heritage Award judges praised the project as heavily researched, resulting in a high quality and imaginative family house, with outstanding craftsmanship as its hallmark.

Tracey said: “We are delighted that the cottages have won this award and that Luke has got the recognition he deserves.

“We interviewed over six companies and he was the only one who we had confidence in, he just had a genuine can-do attitude.”

The total list of craftsmen on the project: Luke Ayling from Alying and Rayner, Keith Reynolds from Reynolds & Sons, stained glass artists Cliff Durant & Son, Stuart Alford Plumbing, Richard Greening from Nye Saunders Architects, Jamie Markfort from JDM Electrical, Oakleigh Security, plasterer David Darling, Steve Casebow from Fineline Joinery, Richard Case from Case Groundworks, Dave Robbins at Covers Building Materials, and underfloor-heating company PRM Solutions.