You may be aware of the Council’s plans to sell the East Lodge at the North Gate of Temple Newsam. Many of the “Friends” feel that other options should be explored to refurbish the lodge, without selling it, and keeping the lodge as part of the Temple Newsam Estate.
Since October 2020 the Friends have had several discussions with local councillors and council staff to try to get the decision to sell the East Lodge reversed. Unfortunately, the council are adamant that the sale will go ahead and they will not change this decision despite our raising a petition which has had nearly 1,350 signatures opposing the sale. Sign the petition
Given this decision we are, therefore, continuing to engage with council officers to ensure that the property, which is a Grade 2 listed building, is protected by covenants so that its external appearance is not changed. These discussions are ongoing with council officers who fully accept our concerns and are being constructive on the matter. At this time the property will not now be put up for sale until early summer.
There is still time to lobby your local councillors to seek another solution or ensure the building is protected. (Email addresses listed below).
Why it should not be sold
The lodge is one of two gate lodges situated at the entrance to the historic Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown designed landscape at Temple Newsam. They are highly visible and play an important role in the heritage of the estate. Leeds City Council is working on a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding of up to £5 million for a restoration project at Temple Newsam. Disposal by private sale of any part of the Estate could put at risk the success of this bid.
There could be conflict with any private owner arising from the many events held at Temple Newsam. During events, the lodges are subject to localised noise disturbance, significantly increased visitor numbers and traffic flow through the gate and impacted by formal road closures. These events provide major income for LCC and there is a risk that this income could be jeopardised if a new private owner were successful in limiting event activity. Also any costs the council may incur in contesting such legal action would considerably outweigh any refurbishment costs of the property.
Having service tenancy occupants of the Lodge, who are employed in the Park, would allow them to support service delivery, in particular the ability to provide out of hours and emergency response arrangements, as well as passive security benefits. Such a tenancy would also provide a link with the current tenant in the West Lodge which could be mutually supportive.
The estate boundary walls and gate post features are linked into the actual structures of the lodges and these features would still be owned by the council. There may be difficulties in separating any maintenance issues relating to these features from those of the actual lodge houses.
These lodges are grade 2 listed buildings which form an integral part of the Temple Newsam Estate and as such covenants would be required to protect, at least, all the external features from any action which would detract from their historical appearance.
The problem with such covenants is that they become difficult to enforce over time and any actions taken by a private owner outside of the restrictions of these covenants may prove to be irreversible. There may, therefore, over time, appear visual differences in the external appearance of the two Lodges. This would significantly detract from the balance and symmetry. There have been local examples of this.
If the proposal to sell the property goes ahead it is also likely that the council will sell the adjacent West Lodge at some time when, and if, the current tenancy on that property comes to an end.
The current work that the Temple Newsam Estate staff are doing on the resilient Heritage Fund project has clearly shown that historic large estates hang on to their assets to use them to generate revenue and similar estates have converted buildings into holiday lets, office accommodation or small business use. The lodges play a key part in that project.
The Friends of Temple Newsam fully understand the financial difficulties Leeds City Council are facing, but as an independent voluntary group the Friends can access funds and grants that are not available to the council.
Since the Friends of Temple Newsam was formed, substantial sums have been raised by them for projects in the Park, details of which can be found on this website. As such we feel that all funding alternatives should have the opportunity of being investigated.
A breakdown of £50,000 refurbishment costs quoted initially is not available. A closer scrutiny of detailed costings may identify a lower estimate. Perhaps, with the prospect of kudos and good publicity, local companies could be encouraged to work (to the Council’s standards) on the lodge on a zero-profit basis thus making savings.
The Friends firmly believe that ALL alternatives should be explored before a final decision is made.
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