Mokshapriya writes from Birmingham, UK with major news from the Sangharakshita Land Project: they’ve bought somewhere! Triratna now has a major new retreat centre, and Sangharakshita has a new home. He says - “At five o’clock on Friday 21st September, after three years of talking and planning and searching and travelling and head-scratching, contracts have been signed, cheques cashed and keys handed over. We have bought a property: the Sangharakshita Land Project has a home.
Known as Coddington Court, it sits on the edge of the Malvern Hills, just outside the tiny village of Coddington in Herefordshire, West England, not far from the Welsh border. The nearest train station is Colwall which lies 3.2 miles away. The drive south from Madhyamaloka takes about 75 minutes. The Malvern Hills are designated an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’ and the attractive spa town of Great Malvern is just a ten-minute drive away.
The original Coddington Court House and Coach House were built in 1796. After 1979 three new buildings were added to provide the headquarters for a petroleum company and in 1999 two more residential blocks were added making the whole site into a residential school for autistic young people. For the past three years the property has stood empty waiting for its next and final incarnation.
The site now consists of six substantial buildings set within 15.5 acres. We have to begin with a lot less land than we hoped but in years to come there is the potential to buy surrounding fields and woodland. Positively, we have around 40,000 square feet of buildings to use which considerably exceeds our short term expectations. We have also bought the adjoining farmyard which lies immediately to the north. This will hopefully provide the footprint for a large shrine hall but that will have to wait for a few years. It’s a working farmyard and will continue to be used by the farmer for a couple more years. You’ll find it on Google Earth. The full address is Coddington Court School, Ledbury, Herefordshire HR81JL. There’s a link to an old property brochure here.
Happily the buildings will not need years of work to get them serviceable but it will take a few weeks to get a clearer sense of exactly how long we need before Bhante and the communities can move in. Naturally, before we can have any happenings at all on the site we need planning approval and a few basics sorted out. Without making any commitments (!!) it is hoped that by next summer the site will be ready to start hosting events with accommodation for around 100 visitors at a time.
Over the next few weeks I will be on site with Ajjavin, a very experienced builder and renovator, and Tim, an architect involved in the Shrewsbury sangha. Together we will draw up a plan of action and work out how best to get the buildings ‘serviced’ and thus fit for purpose. The buildings have not been occupied for three years and a certain amount of damage has occurred particularly during the last two cold winters.
No doubt there will be opportunities to get involved on a practical level and I’ll ensure you know what sort of help we are looking for and when. We will also be looking for material help; tools, supplies, plants, equipment, furniture - we even need a car and a van if anyone has any going spare!