Thursday, March 29, 2012

News: Wentworth Woodhouse damages claim

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The Coal Authority looks set to appeal a judge's decision in a bid to stop a claim for damages from the owners of Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham going to a full hearing.

The Coal Authority attempted to stop the claim in the Lands Chamber of the Upper Tribunal in January, arguing that the two damage notices served by the owners were invalid.

The contention centred on technicalities on how the form was completed, largely due to it being completed by one of the Newbold brothers, Paul. The authority claimed that he was not the land owner as the property was co-owned by the family and that he did not have the authority to act on behalf of his family.

The judge, Mr George Bartlett QC ruled in favour of the Newbold family, concluding that "the Authority's contention that the notices were invalid must fail."

Now, the owners have been informed of the Coal Authority's decision to pursue this case by appealing to the Court of Appeal.

This comes despite the judge going on to say that "there is not in my view, a realistic prospect of success on this or any of the other contentions in their applications."

In a statement, the Newbold brothers said: "We are very disappointed that the Coal Authority is continuing to pursue this case by appealing to the Court of Appeal, particularly given what George Bartlett QC, President of the Upper Tribunal, said.

"The Coal Authority is wasting time and money which will, of course, mean additional costs which can only put in further jeopardy one of the country's finest Grade I Listed Buildings."

The claim for damages against the Coal Authority, for at least £100m, is key to the proposed regeneration of the building that has the longest country house fa├žade in Europe.

Plans for the mansion house were unveiled last year that would create a combination of a publicly accessible restored museum in the central and grandest rooms, as well as a 70 suite luxury hotel and spa to the remainder. Business premises in the stable block were also proposed.

It was hoped that it would begin this year and aspects to be completed in 2015.

Images: Warofdreams / Wikipedia, used under Creative Commons license

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