Salisbury Cathedral Close Preservation Society


Arundells - Change of Use

The Sir Edward Heath Foundation

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Protest against Application for permanent Change of Use

The Society has submitted the following to Wiltshire Council:

Arundells   Application 13/04090/FUL

The Salisbury Cathedral Close Preservation Society wish to protest the application for permanent change of use to class D1 for Arundells.

We are opposed to this property being used for purposes that are inappropriate in The Close. The current opening presents few problems but additional fundraising events and other commercial exploitations that are possible under a D1 classification could generate traffic and noise issues.

The opening of Arundells for public viewing has generated large losses and is highly unlikely ever to be economically viable. Therefore, we believe, that the property will have to be sold in the near future. Our principal concern is that the property should not be capable of being sold on to an entrepreneur together with a permanent D1 classification so that it could be exploited for commercial purposes that are not appropriate in The Close.

We understand that even if D1 classification is granted to the Estate of Sir Edward Heath this permission could be restricted from flowing to the next owner. We wish that such a constraint be attached to any broadening of the use of Arundells. 

Essentially Arundells is a residential property and its classification should remain as such.

 

R.W.Owen    Vice Chair, Salisbury Cathedral Close Preservation Society

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The Salisbury Journal reported on 24/01/2013:

FORMER Salisbury MP Robert Key has resigned as a trustee of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation as the debate over the future of Arundells rages on. In October, the trustees decided they had no option but to sell the former prime minister's £6million Cathedral Close property due to dwindling visitor numbers and mounting costs. However China-based, multi-millionaire businessman, Peter Batey has put forward a new proposal to keep Arundells open to visitors and use the house as a museum, cultural centre and a venue for wedding photography and concerts.

The Charity Commission, which has already blocked the sale of Arundells once, has asked the trustees to look at Mr Batey's plan before it makes a final decision on whether the house can be sold. The delay in the sale has infuriated Mr Key, who has resigned as a trustee after less than a year on the charity's board:

"I have always said that the money from Ted Heath's estate should be spent on young people and not old buildings.

It is a shame but Arundells simply doesn't work as a museum. The people of Salisbury and the Close don't want it as a visitor attraction. It should be a family home.

We have taken the advice of consultants, English Heritage and the National Trust. Arundells is losing money that would be better spent on scholarships in music and sailing that were also provided for in Ted Heath's will.

He moved here 10 years after he resigned as leader of the Conservative party - Arundells has nothing to do with his time as Prime Minister. Opening it to the public again is unviable because of the huge amounts of work needed on the house, which would prove incredibly costly.

The trustees wanted to sell the house in 2011 but the sale was stopped by the Charity Commission following campaigning from pressure group "The Friends of Arundells". Last year the Friends opened the house on Thursdays but visitor numbers were fewer than expected and Arundells lost £97,000 in eight months."

After the trustees announced new plans to sell Arundells last autumn, the Friends again opposed the sale and said they would "act quickly" to show the Charity Commission the extent of support for keeping the house open.

The remaining trustees are now examining Mr Batey's proposals and will give their views to the Charity Commission before a decision is made.

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Arundells - Change of Use 

Application for further extension of the Change of Use.                           
Reference Nos. S/2012/0021 and 0022
 

The Salisbury Cathedral Close Preservation Society strongly objects to these applications for the following reasons: 

  1. The requested change of use would entail greatly intensified commercialisation. This would bring increased pressure on traffic and parking in addition to noise and disruption. Statements by The Trustees and the Charity Commission's review bear this out. According to these sources activities are to be greatly extended to increase receipts from functions, entrance fees and other commercial activities.
    Any increased commercialisation would impact on other facilities that already find difficulty in trading profitably.

  2. Extension to evening opening would be disruptive to residents, and cause parking problems, as this would be uncontrolled.

  3. Arundells is of unsuitable size and layout for functions and increased visitor numbers.

  4. The house has previously always been a family home, and should be returned to that use.

  5. There is a clear danger that any further "temporary" extension could be used to claim "custom and practice" in future. It should therefore be rejected now!

The Trustees of The Sir Edward Heath Foundation in compliance with the wish expressed in his Will arranged four years ago to open the house to the public. In respect for Sir Edward we supported the planning application which was for a three year period, and subsequently the extra year needed by the Trustees to implement a scheme for what would follow.

However ,the Charity Commissioners wish commercial activities to be greatly extended. This decision flies in the face of logic considering the substantial loss incurred over the last four years. It places all Sir Edward's other wishes under his Will at risk for lack of funds.

 

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 Wardrobe and Arundells