HC Deb 26 January 1960 vol 616 cc16-7W
87. Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Minister of Works on what date his Department purchased Iver Grove, Bucks., and for what purpose; what was the purchase price paid; what was the view of the quantity surveyor on the cost of putting this building into good order, and the counter cost put forward by his Department; what has actually been spent on this property since purchase; why he has now decided to sell the house; for what price, and on what conditions; what is the estimated loss to his Department; and whether he will make a statement.

Lord John Hope

In 1954 the Georgian Group asked the Ministry of Works to acquire. if necessary by compulsion, lver Grove an early 18th century house the design of which has been attributed to either Vanbrugh or Hawks-moor. In 1955, after a public inquiry, the Minister of Housing and Local Government made a building preservation order.

In February, 1957, on the advice of the Historic Buildings Council for England, Iver Grove was purchased by my Department to ensure its preservation. The purchase price was £2,700. A quantity surveyor engaged by the owner in 1955 had estimated that £21,000 would be needed to repair and modernise the building; in the same year the Ministry of Works' architects gave an estimate of £8,000 for urgent repairs only. Before acquisition, after a more detailed examination, the estimate was increased to £25,000 for repairs and modernisation. In fact £37,500 has been spent.

The house is to be sold, subject to arrangements for public access and protective covenants to the National Trust. as the most economical way of ensuring its preservation and maintenance. No selling price has yet been settled. The net cost of preserving the building will depend on the price obtained for sale.