Builders social distancing on vast roof of Rotherham stately mansion

Workers who are continuing to repair the roof of a mansion in South Yorkshire are following government distancing guidelines “to the letter.” bosses say.

Wednesday, 25th March 2020, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 27th March 2020, 4:29 pm

The vast roof at Wentworth Woodhouse, which has the longest frontage in Europe, allows operatives to work well away from each other, according to Woodhead Group, which is carrying out the works.

And it has implemented daily health-screening, installed extra hand-washing and cleaning facilities and staggered break times to ensure social distancing.

Builders were excluded from the Government’s far reaching lockdown order announced on Monday to prevent the spread of the disease.

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Sponsored Make Your Mark In History slates go on the East Front portico roof. Volunteer tour guide Ros Burnett is pictured with Martin Brooks roofer Dean Feethan (Pic by Steve Mettam)

Tom Woodhead, business services director for Woodhead Group said: "With the enhanced measures we have put in place on all our sites, we have been able to maintain progress and have a plan in place to continue for as long as government guidelines allow.

“I would like to thank our project team and supply chain partners for their can-do attitude, particularly over the last week to keep us on track in these difficult times."

Halting work would cost Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust up to £30,000-a-month for costs including hire of scaffold and contractor facilities, security systems, health and safety measures and insurance.

The coronavirus pandemic forced the mansion to halt tours and events and close to visitors on Friday March 20.

Dame Julie Kenny, Chair of Trustees Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust and Sarah McLeod, trust CEO, lock the front door of the house, as they temporarily shut it down due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Its 52-strong staff are being paid until the end of March.

The trust is waiting to find out whether it can access government help from initiatives such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

But the 212 volunteers, who gave over 22,333 hours of unpaid support last year, have been stood down.

Sarah McLeod, trust CEO, said: “Keeping people safe is our absolute priority right now. Wentworth Woodhouse will re-open in style as soon as the COVID-19 crisis is over and we want everyone back in force - all our staff, volunteers and loyal supporters.”

Visitors on the last tour at Wentworth Woodhouse, Ian Gill, of Eckington, and Val Fearn, of Handsworth, with guide Liz Keay from Mapplewell, Barnsley take in the Whistle Jacket room. (Pic by Steve Mettam)

Dame Julie Kenny CBE, founder and chair of the trust, added: “In the meantime, a very carefully-managed roof work programme is keeping the building safe.”