Plans for housing at historic hall sold by council

DEVELOPER WANTED: Land at Windlestone Hall, near Rushyford, County Durham, is being sold for housing.

SALE PLANS: The clocktower at Windlestone Hall.

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author Exclusive by , Regional Chief Reporter

CONCERNS have been raised that land - in the grounds of a 19th century stately home sold by a council for just £241,000 - is being offered for sale for a multi-million pound luxury housing complex.

The owners of Windlestone Hall, near Rushyford, County Durham, a grade II* listed building which was the birthplace of former Conservative Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden, are seeking a buyer for 7.55 acres of land.

According to confidential documents obtained by The Northern Echo the land is suitable for 20 to 25 executive homes.

Durham county councillor John Shuttleworth said the housing proposal highlighted the fact the property was sold for a fraction of its value.

Cllr Shuttleworth, who estimated the plot could fetch as much as £2.5m, said: "The whole thing stinks - it just doesn't sit right with me at all and the fact that they're selling it confidentially doesn't help.

"It should not have been sold for such a low price in the first place.

"But there should also have been a clause in the sale that meant there was a clawback to the council if money was made from the land."

The original sale was investigated by independent auditors after Coun Shuttleworth made a complaint.

They supported the Durham County Council's £241,000 valuation, but said a second independent figure should have been sought.

Crook-based Land agents Wisemove have been asked by the owners to look for potential buyers for the plot.

Sale documents reveal that the proposal is for a gated community of detached, executive homes.

Discussions have taken place with planners at the county council.

Graeme Blenkinsopp, from Wisemove, said: "Any sale would be subject to many factors, such as planning permission being granted, and any planning permission that may be granted is expected to be subject to a legal agreement by way of enablement consent, which would see any proceeds of sale obligated for direction to the redevelopment of the historic hall."

Stuart Timmiss, the county council's head of planning and assets, defended the original sale of the hall.

He said: “Given the condition of the building, the state of the market at the time and the very significant maintenance costs being incurred by the council, the sale price gained for Windlestone Hall was realistic and not an undervaluation.

“An earlier offer for a higher value had not been realised as it was based on a plan to build homes in the grounds which were rejected because they were not compatible with the hall's listed building status.”

Comments (21)

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8:26am Mon 19 May 14

Ally F says...

Another very important closed-door local issue brought to light by Independent Weardale Councillor John Shuttleworth. Keep up the good work John and lifting the lid on some very undemocratic and underhand dealings in County Hall.

With outline planning consent (or even just with the Council Planning Department's head nod in principal) each plot would, very conservatively, be valued at over £50K, that would put the site value at £1M or more for a 20 home development. For an exclusive devopment you could easily double that figure.

I wonder how many social affordable homes for local residents and essential public sector workers will be included in a 20-25 home gated community....
Another very important closed-door local issue brought to light by Independent Weardale Councillor John Shuttleworth. Keep up the good work John and lifting the lid on some very undemocratic and underhand dealings in County Hall. With outline planning consent (or even just with the Council Planning Department's head nod in principal) each plot would, very conservatively, be valued at over £50K, that would put the site value at £1M or more for a 20 home development. For an exclusive devopment you could easily double that figure. I wonder how many social affordable homes for local residents and essential public sector workers will be included in a 20-25 home gated community.... Ally F
  • Score: 33

8:47am Mon 19 May 14

Copley23 says...

Agreed Ally F:

1 for the gardener.
1 for the security guy.....

One word for the planners of DCC: Escomb.
Agreed Ally F: 1 for the gardener. 1 for the security guy..... One word for the planners of DCC: Escomb. Copley23
  • Score: 11

8:56am Mon 19 May 14

bowwow2014 says...

council are lying. i know personally from speaking to the homeowners that live in this hamlet who are all hardworking business people that they got together and put in a joint offer between them for over a million so they could keep the hall and restore it but were turned down . these are residents who wanted to use their money pooled together and keep this locally owned but instead private deal was done for a lot less money. needs investigating. too many beautiful old listing buildings are being sold off behind closed doors to outsiders . our local heritage is being lost 21st century will end with hisory being forgotten and buildings being demolished or replaced.
council are lying. i know personally from speaking to the homeowners that live in this hamlet who are all hardworking business people that they got together and put in a joint offer between them for over a million so they could keep the hall and restore it but were turned down . these are residents who wanted to use their money pooled together and keep this locally owned but instead private deal was done for a lot less money. needs investigating. too many beautiful old listing buildings are being sold off behind closed doors to outsiders . our local heritage is being lost 21st century will end with hisory being forgotten and buildings being demolished or replaced. bowwow2014
  • Score: 27

10:18am Mon 19 May 14

reasoned view says...

Ahh the council.
£241k. What did they sell, a new build detatched on an anonymous estate?
Why didn't the idiots sell the land themselves? At least it would have come with planning permission as they grant it. Could have even approved something ugly like Dunelm House students union, or Milburngate House in Durham. Because they can, but would laugh us out of the building if we propsed it.
W*nkers
Ahh the council. £241k. What did they sell, a new build detatched on an anonymous estate? Why didn't the idiots sell the land themselves? At least it would have come with planning permission as they grant it. Could have even approved something ugly like Dunelm House students union, or Milburngate House in Durham. Because they can, but would laugh us out of the building if we propsed it. W*nkers reasoned view
  • Score: 19

12:31pm Mon 19 May 14

punkrocker says...

Some thing is wrong here. Corrupt politicians. Sleazy and Criminal.
Some thing is wrong here. Corrupt politicians. Sleazy and Criminal. punkrocker
  • Score: 19

4:29pm Mon 19 May 14

tubgut says...

Councillor John Shuttleworth well done, suggested options, formal request in writing, request under the freedom of information act, request your external audit team to investigate failing that call in the authorities to investigate a possible fraud. Hiding anything is a good indication all is not well.
Councillor John Shuttleworth well done, suggested options, formal request in writing, request under the freedom of information act, request your external audit team to investigate failing that call in the authorities to investigate a possible fraud. Hiding anything is a good indication all is not well. tubgut
  • Score: 13

5:53pm Mon 19 May 14

Deb1971 says...

And once again the council show their honesty! And once again they will get away with it and it will be forgotten about.
And once again the council show their honesty! And once again they will get away with it and it will be forgotten about. Deb1971
  • Score: 12

7:45pm Mon 19 May 14

peter laidler says...

Blame Henig folks, he is the driving force behind most of what goes on within Durham CC. To think that a Labour majority council would have condoned such unethical practices is astounding. Yet a further example of selling off prime real estate to enable the 'rich' to build exclusive properties instead of providing much needed social housing for young families.
Blame Henig folks, he is the driving force behind most of what goes on within Durham CC. To think that a Labour majority council would have condoned such unethical practices is astounding. Yet a further example of selling off prime real estate to enable the 'rich' to build exclusive properties instead of providing much needed social housing for young families. peter laidler
  • Score: 21

8:02pm Mon 19 May 14

LeeHarris1989 says...

Typical Labour. Stab the working class in the back by not helping them but are more than happy to help their rich business associates in exchange for extra party funding. Look at when Brown sold off the UK's gold reserves. Labour are only out for themselves and their rich chums. It is high time that the people of the North East wpke up and realised this instead of living back in the 60's, 70's and 80's when Labour actually stood for something worth supporting.

Time for change, time for UKIP
Typical Labour. Stab the working class in the back by not helping them but are more than happy to help their rich business associates in exchange for extra party funding. Look at when Brown sold off the UK's gold reserves. Labour are only out for themselves and their rich chums. It is high time that the people of the North East wpke up and realised this instead of living back in the 60's, 70's and 80's when Labour actually stood for something worth supporting. Time for change, time for UKIP LeeHarris1989
  • Score: 8

8:09pm Mon 19 May 14

punkrocker says...

Looks like £2 million plus lost here, over £5 million lost with the Thinford roundabout fiasco (including the KFC built wrong way round) and nearly £20 million lost with the poor running of Darlington refuse. And the fools from Labour blame Pickles for the cuts. Useless and corrupt Labour. When are the police going to act.
Looks like £2 million plus lost here, over £5 million lost with the Thinford roundabout fiasco (including the KFC built wrong way round) and nearly £20 million lost with the poor running of Darlington refuse. And the fools from Labour blame Pickles for the cuts. Useless and corrupt Labour. When are the police going to act. punkrocker
  • Score: 16

7:56am Tue 20 May 14

somethinginsidesostrong says...

Feeling incensed! Secret Societies are self serving in order for self advance ment financially. Where do you think phrase "GOLDEN HANDSHAKE" originated? Aye Money goes to money - I dont care which colour or hue these CORRUPTIBLES wear Red, Yellow, Blue or Sky blue pink with nobs on! THE POINT IS A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION I S NEEDED! WINDLESTONE HALL IS OUR HERITAGE NOT A GREEDY SECRET SOCIETY MEMBERS C A S H N E X U S!
Feeling incensed! Secret Societies are self serving in order for self advance ment financially. Where do you think phrase "GOLDEN HANDSHAKE" originated? Aye Money goes to money - I dont care which colour or hue these CORRUPTIBLES wear Red, Yellow, Blue or Sky blue pink with nobs on! THE POINT IS A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION I S NEEDED! WINDLESTONE HALL IS OUR HERITAGE NOT A GREEDY SECRET SOCIETY MEMBERS C A S H N E X U S! somethinginsidesostrong
  • Score: 9

8:06am Tue 20 May 14

somethinginsidesostrong says...

We need to file a complaint over the Internet to Durham County Hall, get as much support for this as you can , get people to flood County Hall with complaints against stealing our heritage. A lot of miners died with respiratory diseases, working for Sir Anthony Edens family and forefathers, this is all the heritage we have left. Approach over the Internet the National Trust/R.S.P.B/Herita
ge for Rural England etc etc. Is there a capable person here that could raise a Petition see Ann Elliott I think she is capable.
We need to file a complaint over the Internet to Durham County Hall, get as much support for this as you can , get people to flood County Hall with complaints against stealing our heritage. A lot of miners died with respiratory diseases, working for Sir Anthony Edens family and forefathers, this is all the heritage we have left. Approach over the Internet the National Trust/R.S.P.B/Herita ge for Rural England etc etc. Is there a capable person here that could raise a Petition see Ann Elliott I think she is capable. somethinginsidesostrong
  • Score: 5

10:02am Tue 20 May 14

tubgut says...

If rumours are true any removable asset from the hall has be stripped and sold. Suggest all read through the external auditors report 2013 section 03 Value for money how they can claim value for money when an offer of 241,000 was accepted over 1,000,000. Value for money?????? So it was investigated by who is it another case of marking your own homework. Tax payers have lost out time to call in the authorities.
If rumours are true any removable asset from the hall has be stripped and sold. Suggest all read through the external auditors report 2013 section 03 Value for money how they can claim value for money when an offer of 241,000 was accepted over 1,000,000. Value for money?????? So it was investigated by who is it another case of marking your own homework. Tax payers have lost out time to call in the authorities. tubgut
  • Score: 5

10:47am Tue 20 May 14

canonbal says...

please remember the hall was falling apart when the current owners bought it. they are spending millions of their own money restoring the buildings. it makes sense to dispose of some of the land if they want to and recoup some of their losses it is a very large estate.
please remember the hall was falling apart when the current owners bought it. they are spending millions of their own money restoring the buildings. it makes sense to dispose of some of the land if they want to and recoup some of their losses it is a very large estate. canonbal
  • Score: -14

2:13pm Tue 20 May 14

somethinginsidesostrong says...

Canonball says in support of avarice "It makes sense to sell off the land to recoup their losses" Oh aye then if anybody from former pit villages or similar Post Codes need to phone the Emergency Services, the response will be, sorry mate you have had it, its optimum service via postcode to those who paid millions of pounds in their carbuncle mansions attached to Windlestone Hall Grounds - Come back for the Next Chapter Meeting ;) Time to get my pinnie on bye bye.
Canonball says in support of avarice "It makes sense to sell off the land to recoup their losses" Oh aye then if anybody from former pit villages or similar Post Codes need to phone the Emergency Services, the response will be, sorry mate you have had it, its optimum service via postcode to those who paid millions of pounds in their carbuncle mansions attached to Windlestone Hall Grounds - Come back for the Next Chapter Meeting ;) Time to get my pinnie on bye bye. somethinginsidesostrong
  • Score: -8

5:45pm Tue 20 May 14

LUSTARD says...

gated community here in the north east, astounding
gated community here in the north east, astounding LUSTARD
  • Score: -1

6:21pm Tue 20 May 14

theWorkerScum says...

Yet again, I said this would happen, it's amazing they get away with it. Advertised at one price, sold at a much lower, then planning permission is suddenly an option. Its a boys club which you and I can't compete against. The level of corruption is this country is astonishing. Lastly, directed @canonbal, i believe everyone was quite aware refurbishment was required, and also quite aware that the land had been rejected for planning permission. Do i need to explain any further or are you just pretending to be stupid?
Yet again, I said this would happen, it's amazing they get away with it. Advertised at one price, sold at a much lower, then planning permission is suddenly an option. Its a boys club which you and I can't compete against. The level of corruption is this country is astonishing. Lastly, directed @canonbal, i believe everyone was quite aware refurbishment was required, and also quite aware that the land had been rejected for planning permission. Do i need to explain any further or are you just pretending to be stupid? theWorkerScum
  • Score: 8

12:04pm Wed 21 May 14

tubgut says...

Hi everyone should read investigation report about future use and projected running costs, the people try to sell it must produce the invoices covering expenditure. It was going to be a equine centre lets have a look at the plans and actions taken to achieve the stated goals, Or has the council been conned what a bunch of mugs. There is a massive disconnect between what was going to happen and what actually did time for a look see.
Hi everyone should read investigation report about future use and projected running costs, the people try to sell it must produce the invoices covering expenditure. It was going to be a equine centre lets have a look at the plans and actions taken to achieve the stated goals, Or has the council been conned what a bunch of mugs. There is a massive disconnect between what was going to happen and what actually did time for a look see. tubgut
  • Score: 0

12:26pm Wed 21 May 14

canonbal says...

if the hall had not been bought in this deal it would still be standing empty and falling apart neither the national trust nor the county council were in a position to save it. we have a historic house saved and restored, potentially a good housing development on unused land and no cost to rate payers. if someone makes a few quid from all that work good luck to them.
if the hall had not been bought in this deal it would still be standing empty and falling apart neither the national trust nor the county council were in a position to save it. we have a historic house saved and restored, potentially a good housing development on unused land and no cost to rate payers. if someone makes a few quid from all that work good luck to them. canonbal
  • Score: -4

12:53pm Wed 21 May 14

somethinginsidesostrong says...

Canonball says its ok to CAPITALISE from any body without projecting into the future?
Canonball says its ok to CAPITALISE from any body without projecting into the future? somethinginsidesostrong
  • Score: -2

6:53am Wed 28 May 14

George19 says...

Which fools sold it for that price in the first place, they should be investigated.
Which fools sold it for that price in the first place, they should be investigated. George19
  • Score: 2

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