Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Owner's vow on country house revamp

A view of the original entrance "Porte Cochere" to the 180-year-old Grade II listed Trentham Hall, in Trentham Gardens near Stoke-on-Trent

The owner of the remnants of a country house once ranked among England's most opulent buildings has reiterated its commitment to a £35 million restoration project.

Property developer St Modwen said steps have and are being taken to preserve the remaining parts of Trentham Hall in north Staffordshire.

Planning permission has been granted for a hotel project which would see the renovation of the hall's main entrance, stables, courtyard and sculpture gallery.

Despite the dilapidated condition of the surviving buildings, St Modwen said it remains committed to their restoration when economic conditions make the £35 million project viable.

Mike Herbert, the North Staffordshire regional director at St Modwen, which bought the Trentham estate in the 1990s, said: "We have owned what remains of the hall for getting on towards 20 years and it's in exactly the same condition as when we bought it.

"Our original scheme was to restore the whole estate with the hall as the last piece of the jigsaw.

"Our planning consent is as a hotel and that is what we are looking at. Economically, it doesn't stack up at the moment but that doesn't mean we are not going to do it. One day we will."

The once-derelict gardens of the Italianate Victorian hall were reopened by St Modwen in 2004, and now attract more than 400,000 paying visitors each year.

Most of the historic hall, which was remodelled and extended by renowned architect Sir Charles Barry for the Duke of Sutherland in the 1830s, was demolished in 1912.

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