Saved against the odds

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

ON March 24, af­ter many com­pli­ca­tions, the great neo-classical Went­worth Woodhouse, South York­shire, passed into the hands of the spe­cially formed Went­worth Woodhouse Preser­va­tion Trust. The pur­chase of the prop­erty for £7 mil­lion is an as­ton­ish­ing coup for SAVE, which helped es­tab­lish the char­i­ta­ble trust.

Mar­cus Bin­ney, SAVE’S ex­ec­u­tive pres­i­dent, com­ments: ‘This is a tri­umph against all the odds. It is a deal that the lawyers ad­vised was so com­pli­cated it could never nor­mally be done. It has taken five years of sus­tained hard work to se­cure sup­port.’ The pro­pos­als are un­der­pinned by a £7.6 mil­lion grant to­wards ur­gent re­pairs an­nounced by the Chan­cel­lor in his Au­tumn State­ment. The in­ten­tion is that, over the next 15–20 years, this huge house will be able to both gen­er­ate—and, as a char­i­ta­ble un­der­tak­ing, at­tract— the £42 mil­lion nec­es­sary for re­pairs. The busi­ness plan, funded by the Na­tional Trust, in­cor­po­rates events, of­fice space, houses, flats, hol­i­day lets and pub­lic ac­cess.

The £7 mil­lion for the pur­chase of the house has come from a col­lec­tion of bod­ies: the Na­tional Heritage Memo­rial Fund, The Mon­u­ment Trust, The Art Fund, The J. P. Getty Jnr Char­i­ta­ble Trust and Sir Sieg­mund War­burg’s Vol­un­tary Set­tle­ment. JG

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