The Derbyshire county council now says it cannot afford more than £6m of repairs to Elvaston Castle. The Council had been looking for someone to take it over since 1999; the current developer, Highgate Sanctuary had significantly altered plans for a golf course on the castle grounds after recent criticism from English Heritage. As a result, the council says the proposed changes may force it to retender the lease.
The Castle - which is a 19th Century country house built in the gothic-revival style - stands in more than 200 acres of parkland and gardens which attract about 300,000 visitors a year. But the poor condition of the building has allowed it to be open to the public only on rare occasions.
Originally a manor house built for the latter Sir John Stanhope in 1633, the house was redesigned in grand style by James Wyatt in the early 19th century for the 3rd Earl of Harrington. Further modifications were made in the 1830s by the architect Lewis Nockalls Cottingham. The gardens were also redesigned by William Barron who spent many years working for the fourth Earl.
A spokesman for Derbyshire County Council says "We are now considering whether we need to go back out to the market. This is because English Heritage had concerns over the scale of the proposed development. If we do go back to the market and choose another developer then we would carry out a full public consultation. Whatever is decided public access to the grounds will remain."