HL Deb 24 July 1990 vol 521 cc1435-6WA
Lord Dormer

asked Her Majesty's Government:

In view of the risk of deterioration to Herstmonceux Castle, Sussex, and in view of its status as a Grade 1 listed building, whether they will consider its purchase for government or other public service use or, alternatively, encourage its acquisition by the National Trust or similar conservation body in order to ensure its preservation.

Lord Strathclyde

The Government, through its agency English Heritage, will only seek to acquire historic buildings or monuments of outstanding importance to the nation's heritage as a last resort, if they are unable to attract purchasers who are able to keep them properly maintained. Herstmonceux Castle is currently in a reasonable state of repair and there is no immediate risk to its fabric. Should the current owners decide to sell, the Government would hope that the castle might be purchased by an organisation or individual with the means to ensure that it remains in good condition. It would be inappropriate for us to encourage or to put pressure on any particular independent body to purchase the castle. Existing scheduled monument and listed building controls would prevent unsuitable development being carried out and English Heritage would be prepared to consider repair grants as necessary.