Our team of Trustees has worked hard all summer preparing a fantastic document which we sent to National Heritage Memorial Fund in September, having sent a draft for comment earlier and addressed the points they raised.

We should like to say a huge thank you to the Art360 Foundation which leapt to our help over the summer and offered us help and consultancy advice to make our application as robust as it could possibly be. And we’d also like to thank NHMF for their helpful scrutiny and in making us fine-tune our application.

We now have a terrific project which will turn The Steading into a major centre for everything to do with wood and the environment. It will be a centre for inspiration and workshops for sculptors, craft workers, poets, musicians, forest workers, landscape designers, writers, children, students, and anyone else whose creative juices are stimulated by being in this remarkable house. We know it will continue to inspire because all of these categories have already visited and been inspired. We’ve had dozens of letters of support from people wanting to work in partnership with our project.

The timeline we’d been given was that a pre-application Panel would scrutinise it in September and come back with their comments within about a week. At that point we would know whether we would be allowed to make a full application to the Board of Trustees for a November 3rd decision.

During that time, Maggy was preparing The Steading for public viewing, ready in case she had to put it on the market. She had planned to do this in early November, by which time we would know how we stood with NHMF.

After two weeks had passed I asked if there had been any news but there wasn’t. A fortnight later (last week) I asked again, as we were aware that the November 3rd deadline approached. This time I was told that the Panel had not yet been given our application as they had asked for external advice on the robustness of our application. The Panel is to meet on November 9th. We don’t know when a Board meeting might take place but that would be contingent on us meeting the Panel’s approval.

This came as a bit of a shock which was compounded a couple of hours later by the news that the Estate Agents had made the sale particulars of The Steading live. Within 24 hours there were two enquiries and a request to view The Steading. NHMF has been made aware of the extreme urgency of the situation.

However, after a good deal of agonising, Maggy has come to the very brave decision to postpone the sale of The Steading until after the New Year. This comes at a great deal of personal cost, not to mention anxiety for Maggy, but she has done this in the hopes that The Trust can yet take over The Steading.

So, concerned as we all are about Maggy’s welfare and her finances, we want to say a huge thank you to her because this has bought us some time for NHMF to go through the lengthy process which is necessary in order to process our application in a fair way.

So, keep on crossing those fingers for us and we’ll keep you updated with our progress.

Nichola Fletcher, Chair