A HISTORIC but unstable milking shed in Basingstoke used for school visits could have its roof dismantled and rebuilt because it is slipping away from the wall.

Basing Grange is home to one of the largest surviving Tudor barns in England.

At Basing Grange, several Grade I - buildings of exceptional interest - and Grade II - particularly important - listed buildings shape the place.

Among the various structures at the site, the Great Barn is the only remaining building from the Tudor Grange. It is surrounded by brick-lined Tudor stew ponds, a late farmhouse, a late granary set on staddle stones, a ringwork castle, the remains of a Great House with its ancillary buildings, and Civil War defences, all of which can be visited at the site.

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Basingstoke Gazette: The milking shed at Basing House could need to be rebuiltThe milking shed is located between the cow Byre and the Great Barn and maps dated from 1894 showed it with an additional structure on the east side of the wall.

The milking shed provides a covered area for caterers, school visits, and educational activities hosted in the converted Stables and Cow Byre.

The shed has a brick wall with plinths on either side, raised to support the shed’s “lean-to” roof. The wall lines up with the rear wall of the Cow Byre. It extends north, connecting with the side of the barn, which was part of the boundary wall that marked the area of the 1st Duke of Bolton’s hunting lodge, built in 1677.

According to the planning application, both the lodge and the boundary wall “appear” to have been built with bricks salvaged from the ruins of the Old House. The lodge only lasted 60 years before it was demolished in 1740 following a fire, but the boundary wall was retained.

A recent inspection revealed that the “lean-to” roof was slipping away from the wall, causing “instability” in the timber structure.

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The planning statement, submitted on behalf of applicant Hampshire County Council, said: “Some of the timber members under the tiled roof were so decayed that a temporary support had to be installed.

“The exposed nature of the milking shed has meant that a number of the timber elements, such as wall plates, rafters, and roof battens, have decayed and failed. Apart from the oak posts and eaves beams along the front, the timber superstructure is softwood and very little of it is of any significant age.”

Therefore, conservationists and engineers said the only way to correct the timber’s “general distortion” would be to “carefully” dismantle it and then “re-erect” it using “as many of the structural timber components as possible”.

During the inspections, experts noticed that the shed was home to a rare bat species, the “serotine” bat, and two other species. A mitigation licence would be required before any work started.

If the planning application is approved by Hampshire County Council planners, works will include cutting out and replacing bricks where indicated missing, eroded or raking, large cracks in the wall to be infilled with mortar, dismantling of the gutters, downpipes and roof, discarding decayed timber and salvaging whole and sound components for reuse or trimming the decayed ends of the oak posts and re-erecting them, among others.

Once done, experts aim to improve the safety of Basing Grange’s staff, volunteers, visitors, and event customers and preserve the shed and its connection to the other two listed buildings.