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Coal Authority's Claim Dismissed As Wentworth Woodhouse Seek Compensation

Thursday June 6 2013

Mining subsidence: Wentworth Mining subsidence: Wentworth

JUDGES have dismissed a Coal Authority appeal after a South Yorkshire landmark made a £100m claim against them.

The Newbold brothers, who own Wentworth Woodhouse, are wanting compensation from the public body to enable them to repair damage caused by mining beneath the estate.

The UK’s largest private stately home is in the area of the prolific Barnsley seam. The historic building, six miles north of Sheffield between Barnsley and Rotherham, has a frontage some 70m longer than that of Buckingham Palace.

In a unanimous decision, judges at the Court of Appeal dismissed the Coal Authority’s case that the claim for compensation for extensive subsidence should be rejected on a technicality.

The Coal Authority claimed the Newbolds’ compensation claim forms had been filled in wrongly because only one brother was named. 

"This is a common sense decision which we very much welcome," said Giles Newbold, after the court's judgement.

"We urge the Coal Authority to deal with our legitimate claim as quickly as possible so that we can continue our work to restore Wentworth Woodhouse.

"Legal action has already cost all parties over £1million."

The Newbolds plan to relaunch the house as a luxury hotel, spa and museum.

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Reply Posted by Mick on Thursday June 6 2013 at 11:25
It is disgusting that the owners are seeking to make millions like this when they bought it in it's current state for peanuts. If I buy a house & the survey says it has been affected by subsidence then it is my problem & the price I pay will reflect that.

Reply Posted by Rob Lawson on Tuesday January 21 2014 at 18:34
They are only doing what the family were entitled to do. What Shinwell did to this nationally important building was verging on the criminal and it's quite right that the Coal Authority should pay to save it. The coal that was extracted was of exceptionally poor quality and it was nothing but a personal vendetta, opposed by nearly all of the people who had worked for the family.

Reply Posted by les on Thursday June 6 2013 at 23:50
I is amazed at the cultural state of people
who put everybodys.
Or should i say everyone.
But no because you shouldnt start a sentence with a vowel.
If you are so clever why are you talking shite when the subject is about wentworth
tossers trying to screw money

Reply Posted by Cathy on Sunday June 9 2013 at 10:43
I'm with you Mick, they got it for a song, knowing exactly what they were doing.

It is a beautiful building with a rich history in a stunning location, and it should be preserved, BUT, the owners should pay.

As far as I know mining was never carried out beneath the property anyway.

Mr Newbold and family need to pay their own way like the rest of us.

Reply Posted by stevo on Sunday June 9 2013 at 13:32
Yes and they bought it for peanuts, they knew exactly what they were doing when they bough it.
It does have to be said though that Manny Shinwell was determined to destroy the privileged rich and gave the nod for the excavation of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of poor quality coal from the wentworth estate and it was once the biggest open cast mine in Britain.
Shinwell hated the privileged so much he ordered the excavations to be extended and included the formal gardens and woods that belonged to the house, 15 feet high spoil heaps were placed literally meters away from the house.

(I like local history if anyone hadn't guessed)

That said, obviously there was going to be some damaged to the house and the damage is well documented.
The brothers are trying it on, but they have every right to try it on.

The house is a exceptional property and definitely needs preserving for future generations, I am all for it being renovated as long as it doesn't cost taxpayers a penny.

Reply Posted by Dave on Sunday June 9 2013 at 15:18
Before anybody launches into a 'down with the rich' tirade. The Fitzwilliams looked after their miners better than the NCB ever did. Yorkshire NUM did not want Manny's ideological campaign to damage the house in any way.

Reply Posted by stevo on Sunday June 9 2013 at 15:28
Yes Dave you are right and not a lot of people know just what the Fitz's did for the miners.

Reply Posted by Cathy on Sunday June 9 2013 at 17:44
The Fitzwilliams were good to the miners as you have said. My grandfather died in 1962 age 76 having worked as a miner for many years for Fitzwilliam. As you can imagine the mines were even harder places to work in those days. My grandparents never had a bad word for the Fitzwilliams.

Reply Posted by rainbow on Monday June 10 2013 at 09:36
Now that the Tories and Liberals have the whip hand the rich will be able to help themselves to all benefits brought about by austerity measures at the expense of the poor. That's the great problem with our political system, it's all about winners and losers. It's why the country is in the state its in, too much to do about party interests and not about the public interests.??

Reply Posted by Jill on Thursday July 11 2013 at 16:13
As a local I want to see this building survive, it is one of the great jewels, of South Yorkshire. I look forward to the house being seen and appreciated once more by the public. The previous owners not only looked after the miners but other employees too. Including their jockeys for whom they built schools and houses. They helped out local businesses like the doomed Rockingham Potteries, and the family were loyal to their friends too, Keppel column is testament to that fact. Much of what the Rockingham's and Fitzwilliam's gave to the area is still seen and talked about by locals. It's a pity more landed gentry don't follow their example1

Reply Posted by Christine Thistlethwaite on Monday July 15 2013 at 11:53
Its a good job somebody had the good sense to buy the house with plans to ensure it survives. Rotherham council abandoned it to the elements foolhardy decision investment would have netted a nice earner if the doors had been opened. I have recently been on one of the tours after a lifetime of yearning to get in there if not for the current owners this would probably never have come about. Im not politically minded just proud of where I live and happy to see the house being renovated and made available to the public.

Reply Posted by Dave on Sunday September 1 2013 at 22:08
I totally support the Newbolds' plans for Wentworth Woodhouse. They may have bought it for peanuts, but RMBC once bought it for £1 and left it to rot - what an opportunity missed. Also it was offerred to English Heritage who declined. As for it costing the taxpayer shoud the Newbolds win the court case - what do you think happened to the measly £815m that RJB paid for the all the Coal Mines when Thatcher held her sale of all the UK's utilities? It's held by the Coal Authority to - in their own words "manage the effects of past coal mining in order to promote public safety and safeguard the landscape - now and for future generations". I would argue that Wentworth Woodhouse, although a building, is part of the landscape South Yorkshire and it should be safeguarded.

Reply Posted by Ralf on Saturday October 5 2013 at 03:54
Since it was Shinwell, as a Labor MP who mined the poor coal in a deliberate effort to damage the house and family, perhaps the Labor party should pay the bill. Wouldn't it be something if a political party were made to pay for their stupidity.

Reply Posted by Dora Ellen on Tuesday November 26 2013 at 19:24
I wonder how Dave got the information that RMBC bought the house for £1 ! It has never been owned by RMBC. It was leased to them and they sublet to Sheffield Polytechnic. Once Sheffield had no use for it RMBC couldn't afford the upkeep & pay the rent to Fitzwilliam Estate so it was handed back to the Estate. The Estate did a marketing exercise and after various enquiries Estate it was sold to Haydon-Baillie. He occupied it for several years but eventually was declared bankrupt and his bank sold the house to the current owners. They have been in occupation over 13 years. They've received money from English Heritage to renovate parts (not seen on the basic empty room tour I went on) and now want money from Coal Authority for 'subsidence damage'. I'm not sure on the likelihood of success but there was no undermining of the house .. ever!