Heathfield Park’s renewables may ease grid pain

Heathfield Park SUS-140326-090702001
Heathfield Park SUS-140326-090702001

Major changes are in the pipeline for a Heathfield landmark estate.

Dominic and Rebecca Wainford bought the Grade II listed, 350 acre 20-bedroom Heathfield Park for £13 million seven years ago.

Now the couple and their advisers are progressing a masterplan which, they hope, will ‘re-develop and re-energise’ the historic house and land and equip it to face the future.

The first move Heathfield people will see takes place from 11am next Tuesday (April 1) when a giant ‘blimp’ will be flown to show the possible height and location of a wind turbine. This is one of a raft of schemes aimed at generating electricity, both for the house itself and the surrounding community.

Andrew Samuel, from Hailsham Road, Heathfield surveyors Samuel and Son said: “As you know Heathfield suffers frequent electricity blackouts. To reduce costs of heating the house but also drive down our carbon footprint, provide power to local homes, the proposed swimming pool, Community College, leisure centre and primary schools, it’s hoped to generate electricity from a half-megawatt solar photovoltaic array and hydro scheme. There’s a steep gradient so water courses down from ponds which are the source of the Cuckmere River.”

He said the family plans to run a community and educational scheme, involving local people in the life of the Park and will invite children and students on educational visits.

There used to be a private zoo in the grounds, which are now overgrown. Andrew went on: “We’re thinking about creating a hunting lodge with eight bedrooms and bookable function suite beneath the restored tower - cost would exceed £1-million. It would open to clients only - there are huge stags on the estate so it’s dangerous for people to wander about.

“There used to be a herd of about 1,500 deer but we culled 1,000. We also hope to create a 6,000 bird a year shoot, and plan to prepare and sell home-reared venison and game, working with Tottingworth Farm at Punnetts Town.”

Dominic, 46, ran property company Wainford Holdings but has sold the company. Two years ago he was ordered to move a children’s climbing frame, said by Wealden Council to ‘dominate its surroundings’, to another location. Plans for the Park changes have not yet been submitted to parish or district councils but it’s hoped pre-application discussions will pave the way to secure the future of Heathfield Park.