Future of Elvaston Castle and Country Park to be Considered

Written by on 3 September 2020

A report outlining a £35m investment programme to make Elvaston Castle Country Park a sustainable visitor attraction with more visitors and increased income is set to be considered by Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet next week (Thursday 10 September).

The report outlines how the Masterplan, which was developed in partnership with the Elvaston Castle and Gardens Trust and approved in 2018 following public consultation, will be implemented.

The aim is to provide a sustainable future for Elvaston Castle and the estate, relieve the Council of the significant on-going annual maintenance and running costs and resolve the major backlog of repairs and other work needed to the buildings and landscape while maintaining public access to the estate.

Councillor Tony King, Derbyshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Clean Growth and Regeneration, said: “This is a heritage and tourism-led regeneration which is proposed to benefit the whole county by providing a long-term sustainable solution to revive and restore the site.”

“We can’t continue without a pragmatic approach to tackle the ongoing issues on the site that have been a problem for many years. We’ve worked with partners including the National Trust to get to this point of putting a detailed and fully costed programme on the table. By investing now over the next five years we can help reduce the financial burden on Derbyshire council taxpayers in the future.”

He added: “By regenerating the estate, there is the potential to create more than 170 new jobs and increase the number of visitors which will also benefit the local economy.”

If the programme is given the green light, developments as part of the Masterplan could include:

  • Creating a new access drive and moving the car park closer to the castle and courtyard, providing more parking spaces and encouraging visitors to spend on refreshments and other products
  • Upgrading catering facilities including a new main café which would be a key feature of the courtyard and providing smaller catering facilities around the site.
  • A new adventure playground close to the main café
  • Repair and renovation of historic buildings to bring them back into use – such as holiday cottages and lodges, retail and office space or workshops – to generate income. This includes converting the upper floor of the castle into suites available to let out for weddings and corporate events.
  • Offering camping and glamping on the estate’s former campsite with facilities for touring caravans, motor homes and tents.
  • Improved facilities for weddings
  • Improved events programme to cater for a wide range of audiences

Some of these proposals including the new access drive, the new café and development of historic buildings would be subject to planning permission.

Up to £21m for the project is expected to be contributed by the council, £15m of which would be contributed through council borrowing to be repaid over 25 years.  Funding bids will be submitted to secure external grants and private sector investment will also be sought.

The county council’s long-term plan is to hand the day-to-day running of the estate to the Elvaston Castle and Gardens Trust as a single management body.

Dr Peter Robinson, Chair of the Elvaston Castle and Gardens Trust, said: “Elvaston has, for many years, been in desperate need of a viable long-term solution capable of delivering financial sustainability to enable the restoration of the house, gardens and wider parkland for the benefit of local communities and visitors to the area.

“The plans we have developed in partnership with Derbyshire County Council will lead to the creation of a stunning country estate with improved public access, an enhanced visitor experience, restored natural and built heritage, opportunities for business and job creation and better access to the countryside for health and recreation”

If Cabinet members give the programme the go-ahead, a timetable for the project will be drawn up and published in the coming months.

To find out more visit www.futureelvaston.co.uk

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