top of page


Update January 2024

Herts County Council put Little Cassiobury up for sale in May last year.  The asking price was £750,000 and as of now no sale has been made.


We keep in touch with the Estates Department at HCC, and recently asked them if any preconditions had been asked for by either HCC or the prospective purchaser.   They passed the question to the department that deals with Freedom of Information Act requests which claimed that this was confidential information.  When pressed on the questions they responded:


“Factors in favour of disclosure

The County Council considers that there is always some public interest in the disclosure of information, especially if it promotes the aims of transparency and accountability which, in turn, promotes greater public engagement and understanding of the decisions taken by public authorities.


Factors in favour of withholding

Currently the County Council have not completed the sale and it is our belief that if the sale was not to complete, then we would take this matter back to market and the release of this information, could impact upon the County Council being able to agree the best terms. It is also recognised that all parties would need to be able to negotiate freely, without the worry of market sensitive information being disclosed before any sale, can be put in place.

In all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. However, we can inform you that when the property was marketed, we included rights to access areas of the site for maintenance of the building and a right of way for access and services to cross our retained land.


As part of the marketing process Rolstons Estate agents provided prospective buyers with a list of the criteria that would be used to assess the bids. We can confirm that the evaluation of the bids was completed by Rolstons and County Council officers. The bids were accessed on matters such as price, funding available for the proposed works, track record of historic buildings and compatibility with our retained services. “


We’ve asked Rolstons for a copy of those details which are not yet forthcoming.

Little Cassiobury Sold Subject to Contract (May 2023)

Herts County Council have said that, subject to contract, they have a purchaser for Little Cassiobury. During this process we have been in contact with several potential bidders and know that most have attached conditions to their bid. Based, therefore, on our current understanding LC-CIC have settled on a number of steps we propose to take. Given that:


1. Any commercial development of this difficult site is likely to be subject to stringent planning conditions and a sale is likely to be dependent on securing appropriate planning approval, and


2. A sale that allows Little Cassiobury to be turned into a single residence is likely to be the least controversial from the planning point of view, but also the most unlikely.


In the case of both we intend to keep LC-CIC operating, though at a reduced level (e.g., reduce contact with the Heritage Lottery Fund but increased with the planning authorities and Historic England), until such time as it is clear that the re-development of the site has begun.  We will reduce our fund- raising activities to those which have the broadest community interest.


For the assurance of those who have donated to LC CIC all current and future funds are held in accordance with our Memorandum and Articles of Association and in the event that it proves necessary to close Little Cassiobury CIC all sums will be donated to Watford and Three Rivers Trust CVS (W3RT).

Save Little Cassiobury for the Local Community (February 2023)

If you would like to show your support for Little Cassiobury CIC, please email your objections to Hertfordshire County Council, for the attention of Sarah Howard, Senior Estates Officer ( with a copy to Sass Pledger, Director Property (  

If you would like to write to them, the address is: Hertfordshire County Council, County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DE.


Suggested wording:

As a resident of Hertfordshire, I am very disappointed that the Council is not prepared to support a local group of residents, particularly when the Council had written to that group saying they would.  We would like the Council to revise their decision and allow Little Cassiobury CIC to apply for funds to make it a community asset.

Thanks for your help!


News Update December 2022

Little Cassiobury CIC (and its predecessor, Friends of Little Cassiobury) have been working for some time to bring Little Cassiobury into community use. Seeing our commitment Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) offered us a Heads of Agreement document which promised a long lease of the property if we could show our plans meant the House could be financially independent. The National Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF) is aware of this agreement, and earlier this year when they announced that they re-opened new grant applications after the pandemic they asked us to provide more specific details of how this transfer to LC CIC would take place if they were to offer us the funds.


We approached HCC who have refused to acknowledge their commitments.  Their defence was that:


1. They have received an unsolicited bid to buy the House from a developer.


a. When asked they first claimed this was large enough to do all the work and provide the Council with a substantial financial receipt. An estimate created as part of our business plan by a quantity surveyor puts this in the region of several million pounds.


b. Latterly, in response to our Freedom of Information Act request the Council confirm that they had no note or minute of an offer but an indication from a developer of their portfolio.


2. That the Heads of Agreement creates no obligations for the Council.

3. That s123 of the 1972 Local Government Act means they could never have transferred the House to us despite what the Heads of Agreement says.

4. That the House is needed as a residential property to relieve Watford’s urgent and growing housing requirement.


Points 1 and 4 are obviously questionable, whilst 2 and 4 are simply incorrect.  We are only asking HCC to accept their commitments and to transfer Little Cassiobury to us if we are successful in securing the funds to repair and refurbish it.


We are in the process of raising a complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman that they are failing to honour their commitments and preventing us from making the grant application.


At the same time the Watford Observer, Herts Live and Beds Live as well as a reporter for My Watford all expressed interest in these latest acts of the Council.


Can we ask you, our supporters, many of whom have been on this journey as long as we have to write to:


The Watford Observer (

Herts Live and Beds Live (,

your local and County Councillors as well as Sass Pledger –

Director of Property ( expressing your views of the Council’s actions.

National Heritage Lottery Fund (June 2022)

We’ve opened discussions with the National Heritage Lottery Fund for what should be the final time.  Applications have re-opened for grants of over £1 million and our aim is to apply for sufficient funds to renovate and refurbish Little Cassiobury all in one bid.  


The NHLF are aware of our Heads of Agreement with Herts CC (the owners of Little Cassiobury) and have asked us to clarify how LC CIC will take over ownership of the building.  So we have asked HCC to set in motion whatever needs to be done to clarify the process.


Royal Society of Arts (January 2022)

We are delighted to be able to announce that one of our number has recently been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

This is a recognition of the role the team has played so far in encouraging the community use of public assets.   However, it also brings with it access to a potential wealth of experience and entrepreneurial skills of other Fellows and this is one of the advantages of this relationship the CIC will hope to see bear fruit in the future.

bottom of page