Wednesday, 9 February 2011

News - Anger over abbey lodge sale (Newstead)

NOTTINGHAM City Council has announced plans to sell one of the residential lodges in the estate of Lord Byron's former home, Newstead Abbey.

The proposed sale of the grade-II listed West Lodge has provoked fears that the council may "split up" the estate, which it is struggling to maintain.

The Post previously reported that the council plans to close the abbey and its museum collections every day except Sunday in a bid to save cash. It is currently open four days a week.

Ken Purslow, chairman of the Newstead Abbey Byron Society, said the West Lodge was in a "dilapidated state" after being empty for about 10 years. Before that, he said, the caretaker used to live in the lodge."It's a clear indication that they can't look after it," said Mr Purslow."If it's got into a dilapidated state like this, then the solution is to find someone who will put it in decent order."There is a great danger of breaking up the estate if they're starting to do this now – what are they looking at next?"
The council claims it has been forced to reduce the opening hours because it has been hit by a 16.5% cut in Government funding, which is about £60 million. It has revealed budget proposals to save £33 million.

The two-storey stone lodge is about half a mile from the abbey and has a large garden surrounded by a brook and a grade-II listed wall.

The council plans to sell it in an auction with a reserve price on it, to prevent it going too cheaply.
A spokeswoman for the council said she was unable to confirm any other details.

The abbey was given to the people of Nottingham in 1931 by owner Sir Julien Cahn, whose granddaughter Miranda Rijks has written to the council urging it to give or sell the property to another organisation to help keep it open.

The plans for West Lodge were approved by Councillor Dave Trimble, portfolio holder of leisure and culture.


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