News Story

The owners of Hartlebury Castle, the Church Commissioners, have been told they must not seek to force the County Council to make a rushed decision on the future of the historic building and the important Hurd Library it contains

He was responding to a letter he had received from the Commissioners saying that if the Council failed to reach a decision in the next few months, the castle could be put on the open market in the second half of the year.

In a reply to Sir Stuart Bell MP, Senior Church Estates Commissioner, the Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff wrote,

"The Church Commissioners created this problem by removing the Bishop without having a clear plan as to what would happen when the property became vacant. I sincerely hope that, should the County Council require a few extra months to develop a strategic plan for the Castle, the Church Commissioners will be sympathetic.

"This is not an easy time for any county council given the current local government financial settlements and the pressures on them. If additional work should need to be done by them on the business case for taking responsibility for the Castle, I would look to the Church Commissioners to be as flexible as possible."

Commenting, Peter said,

"I think the Commissioners are bluffing - the county council, with the county museum, is the sitting tenant in about a third of the building. This makes it a pretty unattractive property for anyone else to buy.

"But we can't take any risks. We must all continue to work together to secure the future of this fine building for the people of Worcestershire. The council is having to make some tough decisions about its spending and it can not be expected to write an open cheque for the upkeep of Hartlebury Castle. I look to the commissioners to behave reasonably in a situation they have brought on themselves while the council considers how best to proceed."

Back to News