The scheme for Wentworth Woodhouse proposed by the WWPT has four main elements:
1. Public opening of the main interiors and gardens.
2. Catering and events. This would be situated in the north wing using the former student refectory as a dining hall/events venue. The associated catering kitchen would be brought back into use and the arcaded courtyard behind as a breakout space. This area has its own secluded access with parking for vans out of sight in a back courtyard.
3. Workspaces in the stables. The idea of offices for small businesses is based on the very successful model established by Roger Tempest at Broughton Hall in Yorkshire. The buildings around the stable court are one and two storeys and can be fitted out at relatively little cost. In the long term the office model could give way to using some of the space for arts, crafts, educational, community and voluntary uses, depending on the success of the office lets and the need for extra space for other activities. The office lets will nonetheless still provide a very useful income stream.
4. Residential. In all, some 15 residential units are proposed in the south wing, the upper floors of the main mansion and the side courtyards of the stable court. Undoubtedly all these units, which provide a very attractive and varied offering, would make for desirable places to live. The preferred model would be to let the various houses and apartments either as holiday lets or on shorthold leases to provide an income stream for the new Trust.
SAVE Britain’s Executive President, Marcus Binney, says of the scheme: “Our plans will open the house to the general public and bring back all the listed buildings into regular use, for events of many kinds, with holiday lets and apartments for rent and the stables converted for use by enterprising businesses. These uses are to a tried and tested formula which has worked at other major houses and are intended as a major new attraction to the 1.7m people living in the Sheffield Region, providing jobs and access to the extensive gardens and the mansion.”