Stoneleigh Abbey

Grade I Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire, enabling development was acceptable only because the area had already been compromised.
©English Heritage
©English Heritage

Region: West Midlands

Local Authority: Warwick

Funding Body: English Heritage; European Regional Development Fund; Heritage Lottery Fund; Developer

Year of Intervention: 1994 - 2001

Summary: Stoneleigh Abbey- enabling development secures a viable long term future and use for this Grade I listed mansion.

Description: Stoneleigh Abbey (listed grade I) is the grandest and most dramatic Georgean mansion in Warwickshire. Incorporating substantial fragments of a medieval Cistercian abbey, it was remodeled in the 17th century and substantially enlarged in 1714-26 by francis Smith of Warwick. The park was laid out by Humphery Repton after 1809.
Issue: In 1960, the interior of Smith’s west range was severely damaged by fire. The repairs were unsatisfactory, and Stoneleigh continued to deteriorate through the 1970s and 80s, despite efforts by the owning trustees to find a commercially viable future.
Strategy: In 1994 the Trust was reformed and established a partnership with a specialist developer to convert the less significant accommodation to residential apartments, with the suite of state rooms open to the public. Despite repair grants of £1.35M apiece from English Heritage and the European Regional Development Fund, and £2.86M from the European Regional Development Fund, and £2.86M from the Heritage Lottery Fund, there remained a substantial shortfall, primarily the cost of repairs to outbuildings, the restoration of the historic park and the need for an endowment fund for future upkeep. The project had also to settle the debts of the previous trust. These costs were met by enabling development- the conversion of the former Home Farm and Kennels to residential accommodation; the conversion of the former stables to offices; and the erection of 16 large new homes discretely sited off the main drive.
Outcome: By early 2001, repairs to the principal listed buildings were completed. This project was a unique response to the particular circumstances and layout of Stoneleigh, and recognition of the exceptional heritage entity of buildings, contents and park. The extent of enabling development was acceptable only because that area had already been seriously compromised by the National Agricultural Showground.

Keywords: Funding, Re-use, Repair, Reconstruction & Restoration

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