I have written to the Master of Trinity at Cambridge to report the fire to the building they own.
The Master was unaware of the incident but has now ordered the Home Bursar to investigate.
An article from Hastings Online News written by Nick Terdre gives more information on this serious incident.
Nick has passed me a full statement by Sea Change who are responsible for the area:
Sea Change statement on fire in Glovers Farmhouse
21 October 2014
Fire fighters arrived at 4.57am on Friday 17 October to tackle a fire which was well under way at Glovers farmhouse – on the site of our forthcoming Bexhill Innovation Park. We understand the fire fighters battled the blaze from the outside because of the dangers of entering the building.
Our building contractors, on arriving at the site for the day, called to notify us of the fire and our staff visited early that morning with a planning officer from Rother District Council.
While the fire had largely been put out – although it was still smouldering on Monday - the damage to the farmhouse was extensive. The remaining structure was in danger of collapsing – particularly the tall chimney stacks and the brick walls, which had been supported by a timber frame which had been burnt away. In fact, while we were there on Friday morning, part of the eastern gable collapsed under its own weight.
Our first action was – with the help of our site contractors and others working nearby – to fence off the site as far as possible to protect the public.
The remaining structure needed to be dismantled urgently to make it safe. This was confirmed by an engineering survey on Friday afternoon.
As a first priority, our contractors dismantled the chimneys and upper floor walls by hand during Friday night, working from the cradle of a crane above the structure because of safety concerns. The structure was so fragile, most of it collapsed with nothing more than a push by hand.
The below photo shows the building with the upper parts removed.
Our contractors are now dismantling the remaining parts of the building. We have kept Rother District Council’s planning team regularly updated.
We don’t believe this could have been an electrical fire as we stopped the electricity supply to the house in June.
The fire service has undertaken an investigation, which found that someone had entered the house by removing the boarding over one rear ground-floor window and setting it aside.
From this information, we can only assume that the fire was started deliberately.
Once the remains of the farmhouse are safely cleared safely away, we will consider any ideas for the future of the farmhouse site in co-operation with Rother District Council’s planning team.
Background note: Prior to the fire, we first boarded up doorways and windows at the farmhouse on 15 May 2014 – the point at which the previous tenant vacated and a month before the 13 June date on which we took formal possession of the site.
Despite this, there have been repeated incidents of vandalism, break-in and attempted arson in the house over the last few months, with people ripping off the boardings (which we have regularly had to replace) to gain access.