Exclusive: Deal agreed for sale of Wentworth Woodhouse

A DEAL has been signed for the sale of Wentworth Woodhouse, the Advertiser can exclusively reveal.

Julie Kenny, chairman of Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, said this evening that a heads of terms agreement had been signed with the owners, the Newbold family.

Last week Ms Kenny said hopes were high of sealing a deal to revive crumbling Wentworth Woodhouse, with the trust having agreeing to delay discussions beyond the set deadline following the death of Dorothy Newbold, widow of the late owner Clifford Newbold, just before Christmas.

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But today she said a deal has been reached for the sale, adding: “It’s fantastic news. But now the hard work starts.”

The trust wants to spend £42 million on restoring the sprawling mansion.

Last week, the Earl of Onslow said the National Trust should buy Wentworth Woodhouse instead of restoring his fire-ravaged home, Clandon Park.

The mansion in Surrey burned down last April and the Trust is looking at a £65 million insurance payout, which it says must be used to restore Clandon as the property is “inalienable” — meaning that it can never be sold or mortgaged.

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But Lord Onslow told the Daily Telegraph he believed an organisation as well-connected as the trust could come to an agreement with the lender.

He said Wentworth — the largest privately owned house in Europe — could have a varied use, adding: “It could have multiple-occupancy, and be part of Sheffield University, with incubation space for start-up businesses, as well as for those that are already established.”

But Dame Helen Ghosh, director-general of the National Trust, insisted the suggestion of bailing out Wentworth was “based on a misunderstanding” as the insurance money would have to be spent restoring Clandon.