Wednesday, September 22, 2021

News: Plans in for Wentworth Woodhouse


An overarching set of plans have been submitted as "the greatest restoration project for a generation" continues at Wentworth Woodhouse in Rotherham.

Having taken on the property, The Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust (WWPT) launched a £150m masterplan for the Grade I listed mansion house in 2018 which aims to bring new life to the redundant buildings on the 83-acre site.

The latest plans focus on the Camelia House but would also regularise the opening of the buildings and garden to the public and for various uses such as guided tours, events, exhibitions, educational workshops and TV and movie filming.

The application, from Acer Planning, states: "Alongside the ongoing urgent conservation and repair of historic fabric (which has been subject to separate listed building consent applications), the development of the Camellia House is an important first phase of the restoration and plan to create a sustainable visitor attraction and commercial entity to ensure Wentworth Woodhouse is preserved and made accessible for the nation and future generations.

"The early development and opening of the Camellia House for a café and events space within the programme will support the continued opening of the House and Gardens whilst other areas of the Estate are developed."

The Camellia House, which is on Historic England’s At Risk Register and is in a poor state of repair with no roof over the main room, was an orangery with a tea room created in 1738 for Lady Rockingham, wife of the 1st Marquess, to entertain her guests.

Detailed plans for the actual works have already been submitted but a minimum amount of new development, such as a new bin store, is necessary to facilitate a sustainable restoration and re-use of the Camellia House.

The application also includes plans to demolish a 1970s teaching accommodation block and a create a new car park.

Demolition would enable the creation of a new 190 space car park to meet the capacity required for the visitor attraction which is seen as integral to the Trust’s ambitions to turn the Estate into a thriving visitor attraction, to the economic benefit of the borough more widely.

Assessments on the impact on the Green Belt, transport network, local ecology, archeology etc. are included with the plans.

The plans conclude: "The proposed change of use of the Camellia House in the wider proposals including the demolition of the 1970s Teaching Accommodation and the provision of a main visitor car park and further changes of use across the site focused on bringing the Estate into public use, will have an exceptional impact on local character and distinctiveness, allowing people to experience and engage with one of the foremost historic country estates in England in a manner previously unknown."

The next phase of the masterplan is likely to be the transformation of the Riding School and Stables to create new hospitality and visitor centres.

Wentworth Woodhouse website

Images: WWPT / Donald Insall Architects


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