Tuesday, July 8, 2014

News: Wentworth Woodhouse waits on engineering reports


The lengthy multimillion pound legal battle between the owners of Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham and the Coal Authority should come to a head in 2016.

Last year the Court of Appeal unanimously decided to dismiss the Coal Authority's case that the claim for compensation for extensive subsidence damage by the owners, the Newbold family, should be rejected.

The claim for damages against the Coal Authority, for at least £100m, is in respect of the damage caused by deep and open cast mining and is being disputed.

In April 2014 the Judge laid out a strict timetable for both sides to organise engineering reports regarding the movement of the property. The reports are to determine if the movement is due to mining subsidence.

The timetable involves serving reports detailing damage to Wentworth Woodhouse, the response to those reports by the Coal Authority and then the estimate by both sides of the expected length of the trial which will consider the issues in April 2016.

The conclusion of the trial will determine the level of compensation and enable positive plans and repair work to commence.

In a short statement, the owners said: "The Newbold family would like to thank the wider community for their support and positive feedback with reference to their legal battle against the Coal Authority to save Wentworth Woodhouse for future generations."

The legal battle, which has so far cost both sides over £1m, began in 2005.

Plans were unveiled in 2011 for the Grade I listed mansion house to create a combination of publicly accessible restored museum to the central and grandest rooms, as well as a 70 suite luxury hotel and spa to the remainder. The proposal hopes to revive the use of the house in such a way that minimises alteration and change to the historic building, making best use of the spaces that can be open to the public.

Plans were also put in place to establish a trust to save and restore the property with the hope of securing backing from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: Tom Austen


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