Multi-million pound sale of huge South Yorkshire stately home collapses

Tuffrey for Retro: The east front of Wentworth Woodhouse
Tuffrey for Retro: The east front of Wentworth Woodhouse
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The sale of a stately home in South Yorkshire to a Hong Kong investment group has collapsed.

Estate agents Savills had agreed a sale with Lake House Group for Wentworth Woodhouse, near Rotherham, but discussions regarding the purchase have now ended.

The house is twice as wide as Buckingham Palace and had been on the market since May with an £8million price tag.

Charles Brown agreed terms for the house – which is 150 times the size of your average home – through Lake House Group, his family’s investment company, at the beginning of the month.

Mr Brown, who is based in Hong Kong, is reported to have said: “Lake House has decided to leave the purchase opportunity to others.

“The principal driver in this decision has been that Lake House remains unconvinced that it is the right party to take on the current mining subsidence court case that comes with this property.”

A spokesman for estate agents Savills confirmed that talks had ended.

He said: “We confirm that discussions with the Lake House Group regarding the purchase of Wentworth Woodhouse are no longer proceeding.

“We are unable to comment further at this stage.”

The Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, set up by Save Britain’s Heritage, had also put in an offer of £7 million for the property.

It is now working to agree terms for the purchase.

Under its proposals WWPT plans to open part of the house and gardens to the public.

Marcus Binney, president of SAVE, said: “The matter is now extremely urgent as we have to agree terms on the purchase early in December, otherwise we stand to lose a major part of our funding.”

The 124,000 sq ft house comes with an estimated £42 million repair bill, much of it to correct structural damage caused by the subsidence from mining.

The property has an estimated 365 rooms – but nobody knows the exact number because it is so vast.

Last year, the WWPT agreed to take over the house in agreement with its current owners to try to raise the funds needed for repair work to go ahead.

But following the death of owner Clifford Newbold in April, his family made the ‘reluctant decision’ to sell.

It was formerly owned by the aristocrat who inspired Jane Austen’s Mr Darcy.