Apethorpe III

A couple of years ago, we visited the glorious Apethorpe House, which English Heritage bought through compulsory purchase and have partially restored. At the time, they were attempting to sell the house for around £5 million - there have been no takers, perhaps not surprising in view of how much will need to be spent on the house. Or perhaps the requirement to open the house for 28 days a year is putting potential purchasers off.

Whatever, the house is on the market again now for rather less, £2.5 million, still not exactly a snip. It's on with Savills. It wouldn't be a straightforward purchase: potential buyers can't just rock up with a bulging wallet. They will have to pass "three key tests" with English Heritage:

1. An acceptable scheme/proposal/use/occupation in conservation and planning terms
2. Soundly-based costs, programme and funding for the future refurbishment works
3. Expertise – an experienced team with appropriate track record in this field

My first instinct is to whip off quickly to look at the house again before it's sold and loses the enchantment it has because it's empty and all you can see of the house is its beautiful bones. In an odd way, it's more alive than some of those pickled National Trust houses. It's not full of someone else's stuff; someone else's conception of how a house should be decorated. Other empty houses I've been in I've mentally furnished, but not this one: it's so far outside my reach.





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