A stately home near Rotherham looks set to be opened to the public after a new charitable trust was established to take it over.
Save Britain’s Heritage and its partners have formed the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust to take over Wentworth Woodhouse in agreement with its current owners, the Newbold family.
Already £3.4 million has been pledged and Save and the WWPT are seeking match-funding to enable the £7 million scheme to go ahead.
The trust aims to preserve the house and grounds on a long term sustainable basis with public opening, find sustainable and sympathetic uses for those parts of the property not open to the public, and raise funds for acquisition and repairs and other essential works.
The National Trust has agreed to open up some of the 18th century building and its gardens to the public.
Julie Kenny, chairman of the WWPT, said: “The proposed scheme is a viable plan that is intended to be sustainable in the long term and will play an important part in the regeneration of Rotherham, South Yorkshire and the North, promoting regeneration, tourism and community use.”
Marcus Binney, SAVE’s executive president, said: “Our plans will open the house both to National Trust members and the general public.
“The scheme will also bring back all the listed buildings into regular use, for events of many kinds, with holiday lets and apartments for rent and the stables sensitively converted for use by enterprising businesses on the successful model of estate buildings at Broughton Hall.”
He added: “The new trust’s plans do not involve enabling development, and the now derelict university buildings will be demolished and the sites grassed over and returned to garden and parkland.”
Surveys into repair work have found £42 million is needed to be spent on the house over the next 12 to 15 years to meet the backlog of repairs and subsidence damage.
WWPT has agreed, subject to contract, to allow the Newbold family to remain in part of the house.