Wentworth Woodhouse: Village jewel can shine again - The Star Opinion

Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham which is to undergo massive renovations in the near future'The marble hall
Wentworth Woodhouse near Rotherham which is to undergo massive renovations in the near future'The marble hall
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IT will be one of the most ambitious restoration projects undertaken.

For decades Wentworth Woodhouse - the magnificent stately home in the Rotherham village of Wentworth - has been allowed to crumble and decay.

But now its owner, an elderly London millionaire who has spent his life working on just such massive projects, has revealed plans to transform the sprawling mansion into a museum, luxury hotel, spa, conference venue and offices.

Clifford Newbold says the project will generate 1,500 jobs, attract an estimated 150,000 visitors a year and secure the future of the Grade I listed, 18th century property for generations to come.

At 85-years-old, he is up each morning at 8am working on the plans which, because of the sensitive nature of the proposals, have taken the best part of a decade to work through.

It is, whichever way you look at it, an ambitious plan.

The economic, cultural and educational impact on Wentworth Village and the region as a whole cannot be overestimated.

Projects on this scale have the capacity to inspire a mini-boom, one that is much needed in South Yorkshire.

Wentworth Woodhouse would not only be the biggest private residence in Europe.

With these plans - dependent on a successful claim against the Coal Authority - it also has the potential to be once more a jewel in the region’s crown.

But we would also stress the transformation must be undertaken with caution and concerns will inevitably arise.

One that immediately springs to mind is if Wentworth village will be able to cope with the sheer volume of visitors passing through under the new proposals.

Such concerns must be worked through openly to ensure as many people as possible benefit.

At such an early stage, we offer Mr Newbold the very best of luck in his bid to restore this magnificent piece of our heritage.