24 Feb 2022
Mooving with the times: old cow byre to be converted into indoor play centre and café at Temple Newsam’s Home Farm
An udderly exciting development project starts this week, which will see an old cow byre converted into an indoor play centre, café and shop at Temple Newsam’s Home Farm.
The cow byre and its surrounding buildings were built over 100 years ago and were used as a milking parlour to provide clean tuberculin-tested milk to the hospitals in Leeds. The building and production systems were state of the art for their time and by the 1940s, had Shorthorn cows producing over 70,000 gallons of milk each year.
The council ceased dairy farming in 1968 and after that time the building had various other uses including being a vehicle depot for the council’s parks department and even being home to West Yorkshire Police’s stables in the 1970’s.
The various activities had led to multiple alterations to the building and some of the original fixtures and fittings, including the magnificent-looking ventilation turrets, had fallen into disrepair – it was apparent that urgent repairs were needed and a new use found for the building that could respect its original design and history.
Now, 100 years on from when it was first built, a new development will take the place of the old cow byre which will see two new play areas developed, a comfy café offering drinks and light meals and a shop.
Public consultation revealed that visitors were keen that Home Farm should have more indoor facilities so that they could visit at all times of the year and from this the idea, the ‘Playbarn’ was developed.
The new development, due to open in late autumn, will have two play areas, one in the original milking parlour, suitable for up to 12 year-olds and the second area for toddlers which will be situated in a purpose built extension to the rear yard. Both areas will take inspiration from the farm and the park bringing the great outdoors inside.
Councillor Salma Arif, Leeds City Council’s executive member for public health and active lifestyles said:
“I am so pleased to see that this fascinating old building will be given a new lease of life offering families a place to come along and enjoy for many years to come. Creating more indoor space for people to enjoy at Home Farm was a key finding from a public consultation we did last year so we are excited to move this project forward and deliver on this commitment.
“I am looking forward to following the progress of this project and to visiting in autumn once the scheme is complete.”
A concept design of the new play area and café can be found below:
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