Preserving Our Heritage; LETTERS

Article excerpt

MY POSITION concerning Highclere Castle is not as stated (Mail). My attention was drawn by concerned Hampshire residents to a large housing development proposed by the Earl of Carnarvon to raise funds for essential work on Highclere Castle. The development has no impact on me personally, but concerned two of my main interests: the preservation of historic buildings and protection of the countryside.

The Earl was relying on an English Heritage guideline that development may be allowed in an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty to raise funds to preserve an important historic building. But this recommendation also states that all other avenues, including sale of the building to someone who can afford to repair it without developing part of the estate, must have been pursued -- and this hasn't happened.

Neither the possibility, for instance, of the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation becoming involved with Highemail: clere or the sale of some of its farmland had been explored when Basingstoke Council met on the issue, let alone the sale of the estate on the open market.

I can understand the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon wanting to keep Highclere Castle (though it hasn't been lived in for a long time) and I understand the expense of maintaining a historic building of this kind. …