Cowes Heritage Fearful Over Council’s Northwood House Pull-Out

Posted by Admin on 29 May 2010, 12:00 am

29 May 2010      PRESS RELEASE

Cowes Heritage Fearful Over Council’s Northwood House Pull-Out

Cowes Heritage’s Management Committee wishes to express its gravest concern at the way the Isle of Wight Council plans to divest itself of all responsibility for Northwood House and its park.

“Whatever the legal niceties appertaining to this property, the fact is that for 80 years the park and, to some extent the house, have been regarded as a much-appreciated community facility, its management entrusted to successive councils,” said Cowes Heritage’s chairman, John Groves. “For the latest local authority to unilaterally cut all its ties within the next few months, with no indication of any further funding, places quite an intolerable burden on the handful of volunteer trustees.”

It was quite clear, said Mr Groves, the trustees needed time and medium-term financial aid if they were to properly marshal all the help to restore the house and to find viable new uses. “While the council at long last recognises the trust’s right to operate Northwood Car Park, it is regrettable another valuable income stream is being denied them by the shock decision to remove from the house the Registry Office.

“With the trustees facing crippling expenditure, not least in insuring and maintaining this extensive property, it is hard to see just where all the necessary funds will come from.”

“As a non-political group dedicated to recording and exhibiting the history of Cowes, Cowes Heritage cannot but remain fearful about the future of this Grade 2* Listed house and its beautiful grounds. Can it really be true that the momentous decision to prematurely cut ties with Northwood House was left to a senior officer without a full debate with the Cabinet?”

Mr Groves said it was ironical that the council’s uncaring axe fell in the very year when the history of Northwood House was the subject of Cowes Heritage’s annual exhibition in October/November. Already members’ research had uncovered some quite fascinating facets to the story of the property and the Ward family.

“It is time for all those Islanders who share Cowes Heritage’s grave misgivings about the council’s actions to make their feelings known to their councillors. Cowes is being grossly short-changed where it really hurts. Such an abrupt severing of all ties is no way for a local authority to behave towards a much cherished public amenity, whatever its financial problems.”

Press release sent by George Chastney, Vice Chairman of Cowes Heritage (07530 254052)

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