Tuesday, June 5, 2018

News: Wentworth Woodhouse masterplanning in final stages

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Masterplanning for Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham has been a described as a "huge and relentless task" but planning to resurrect the magnificent mansion, its stable block and riding school, is now in its final stages.

The Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) concluded the acquisition of the largest privately-owned house in Europe for £7m last year. The aim of the trust is to preserve the house and grounds on a long term sustainable basis and raise funds for repairs and other essential works.

A team representing trustees and staff of WWPT, architects, landscape consultants, quantity surveyors and business planners have been pouring their time into the grand plan over the last six months.

Sarah McLeod, CEO of WWPT, said: "The process has been a huge and relentless task. A vast amount of expertise and experience has gone into these plans. We have interviewed numerous stakeholders and have visited some of the finest stately homes in the UK to learn from the experts about what worked for them and what lessons they learned.

"It is essential that the trust finds a sustainable solution for the future of Wentworth Woodhouse and there are a now number of options on the table for consideration. But we want to ensure that the local community is given the opportunity to feed into the planning process.

"Wentworth Woodhouse means so much to so many. People are hugely proud of it and have many happy memories attached to it. We are striving to ensure there are many more memories to be made at this house for years to come and the thoughts and hopes of the public are valuable to us as we go about that massive task."

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The masterplan process was supported by the National Trust and Historic England. Once published later this year, it will set out the trust's vision for the site.

Public consultation evenings are being staged in the Barn at Wentworth's Rockingham Arms on June 12 and 14 and everyone who has a passion for the house is urged to attend to air their views.

Each hour-long session will be introduced by WWPT chair Julie Kenny and CEO Sarah McLeod and feature a presentation from planning consultants Tricolor who are undertaking market appraisals, building financial forecasts and capital cost proposals for future heritage build projects and on-site revenue development.

Initial plans showed proposals for the north wing to host a huge range of weddings and events with the stables becoming home to dynamic small businesses. Within the 18th century house and outbuildings more than a dozen apartments and cottages could be restored as lets for holiday makers.

Short term plans involve the creation of four new jobs, new tours of the house cellars and the gardens, plans for a gift shop and revitalised cafe.

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: WWPT / Savills

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