Proposals to safeguard the future of Chesterfield’s historic Tapton House – ensuring the Grade-II* listed building can be restored and brought back into beneficial use – have been considered by Chesterfield Borough Council.
A sympathetic scheme which would see the building restored and converted for residential accommodation, together with a commitment to retain the parkland for public use and create visitor access to part of the Georgian mansion, was chosen as the preferred option by the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday (13 December).
The decision followed careful consideration of bids from 17 interested parties, with the council’s Cabinet approving the sale of the property on a 999-year ground lease to developers, Stone Castle Enterprises Ltd. The sale is subject to further legal due diligence and exchange of contracts.
Councillor Dean Collins, cabinet member for economic growth, said: “Just like the people of Chesterfield, we want to achieve the very best outcome for Tapton House. This is why we set out to find a new owner with the necessary expertise and financial ability to restore and refurbish Tapton House and safeguard its long-term future.
“The council’s Cabinet considered a detailed report on the bids received and the robust process that has been followed to evaluate and score each against a range of relevant criteria – including evidence of proof of funds, and that conservation and environmental matters have been properly considered.
“The offer put forward by the preferred bidder represents the most credible, sympathetic and financially viable option to restore and safeguard the building for generations to come, and the developers have made a commitment to work closely with the council, the Friends of Tapton House and the wider community, as their plans progress.”
Any development will still be subject to planning and conservation approvals, but the proposals put forward set out an aspiration to convert the main house into 15 apartments, with three town houses and two bungalows built in place of the annexe buildings.
Stone Castle Enterprises Ltd have confirmed that no hard boundary would be required and open public access to the parkland would continue. The developers would also seek to create a public heritage area in the building to ensure its past use as the home of Charles Paxton Markham and George Stephenson are celebrated and the importance of the property to the town’s history continues to be commemorated.
Councillor Collins added: “I would like to express the council’s thanks to all 17 bidders who submitted offers to take on this treasured asset. In arriving at a final decision on this important matter, Cabinet members also considered the many views that have been expressed and representations made at earlier council meetings – including the debate on the Friends of Tapton House’s petition.”
A spokesperson for Stone Castle Enterprises Ltd said: “Our vision for Tapton House is to reflect its heritage, honour its past and to create new homes within the space that are steeped in history but built for modern lifestyles.
“We understand the significance of Tapton House to the local community and as such our proposals include maintaining the current levels of public access to the grounds around the building and exploring the viability of developing part of the building to showcase Tapton House’s rich heritage.
“We look forward to working hard, alongside the council and the community, to deliver the best for Tapton House and for the town and borough.”
The Cabinet decision is subject to the council’s usual call-in procedures.
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