Council decides whether to sell house used as base for Hertfordshire’s air raid precautions in Second World War

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Leahoe House was constructed in the 1870s but has fallen into disrepair

A decision on the future of a derelict former manor house in Hertford has been reached by Hertfordshire County Council.

At a meeting of the council’s executive on Thursday, April 18, it was agreed to begin sales proceedings for Leahoe House, including its annex and gardens.

The council has chosen its preferred bidder as Carla Homes.

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Leahoe House. Image supplied by Hertfordshire County CouncilLeahoe House. Image supplied by Hertfordshire County Council
Leahoe House. Image supplied by Hertfordshire County Council

Leahoe House was constructed in the 1870s and Herts County Council acquired it in the 1930s. The house was used as a base for the county’s air raid precautions department during the Second World War.

In recent years, it has fallen into neglect and no longer houses any services or council offices.

In late 2022, Walter Cooper Surveyors (WCS) marketed Leahoe on behalf of the council, and invited bids from potential development partners.

A total of ten bids were received, of which Cala Homes has been identified as the most suitable bidder.

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Cllr Bob Deering told the committee: “I feel this has been with us for quite a long time.

“The situation is that just across the way from County Hall, there’s a building of some history that has been derelict for some time.

“That is Leahoe House. But what sits behind Leahoe House is an area of land which currently has some flats and houses on it.

“To be realistic, the whole site has declined over many years.

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“The proposal is that we would dispose of the house and the whole site to a developer and therefore it will be tidied up.

“In terms of usage of the site, it will be much improved. We also will receive a capital receipt which will be very welcome.

“Every due process has been gone through… the various expression of interest have all been weighted and evaluated, ultimately the preferred candidate is Cala Homes.”

Cllr Deering said the only issue raised from his committee was energy usage, but he added: “We will be proposing to ensure that this development is developed to BREEAM Excellent Standard.”

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Summing up, leader of the council, Cllr Richard Roberts said: “I think in total this is about seven acres of land, so this is a significant development for Hertford.

“I think it should be welcomed. We wish Cala Homes the very best assuming all the Is are dotted and the Ts are crossed.

“We’ve got the right deal for the residents of Hertfordshire and hopefully the right deal for Hertford itself because that’s so important.”

Councillors agreed to move forward with the release of the property and its sale.