A community group has said it will continue working until there is “unequivocal evidence” one of Watford’s most historic buildings is out of reach, as its sale drags on.

Despite Hertfordshire County Council putting Little Cassiobury House up for sale for £750,000 Little Cassiobury CIC, formerly Friends of Little Cassiobury, has continued to closely follow the deal.

Yesterday (January 14), the group shared that a freedom of information request it had made to the council yielded interesting information despite being refused.

It asked whether there were any restrictions or pre-conditions requested by either party, as well as whether an independent evaluation by asset valuation services had taken place prior to negotiations.

The council responded that it decided the information should be withheld because the sale is not yet complete. Despite the Grade II* listed building being described as “sold, subject to contract” in May, contracts have not been exchanged.

Watford Observer: Little Cassiobury interior (during the time it was vacant) Little Cassiobury interior (during the time it was vacant) (Image: Little Cassiobury CIC)

It said that if the site was to go back to market it could impact its ability to negotiate and buyers may be concerned about “sensitive” information being disclosed by the council before deals are done.

Despite these concerns, the response added: “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.”

It also clarified how bids were assessed. Prospective buyers were apparently told any bid would be assessed on “price, funding available for proposed works, track record with historic buildings, and compatibility with retained services”.

Watford Observer: Little Cassiobury.Little Cassiobury. (Image: Little Cassiobury CIC)

Little Cassiobury CIC had previously tried to arrange for Little Cassiobury House to be transferred to the group so that it could apply for funding and carry out restoration work.

It has also raised concerns about the practical suitability of the building for potential development, given its state, location, and planning restrictions on developing highly prized listed buildings.

Today, the group said: “Little Cassiobury CIC will continue to pursue our aim to bring the house into community use until there is unequivocal evidence that this is no longer possible”.

The 12-bedroom building, in Hempstead Road, is thought to be a dower house from the late 17th century, initially built for Elizabeth Percy, Countess of Essex.