Campaigners' anger at Norwood House sale
Campaigners have accused council leaders of selling off Beverley's history after lining up Norwood House to be converted into offices.
The nine-year saga over the fate of the grade one-listed building was resolved when East Riding Council's cabinet agreed to sell the freehold to Brough-based developers the Brantingham Group.
The company, which also owns Lairgate Hall in Beverley, plans to refurbish the Georgian landmark and subdivide it into a number of office suites.
But angry campaigners who had hoped to keep the building open for public use say the decision is another blow for the town.
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Martin Layton, treasurer of Norwood House trust, said: "This building is regarded as among the four best Georgian houses in the country.
"It's a real gem and has huge potential as a tourist attraction, yet once again the council is selling off a superb public asset to the private sector."
The building has stood empty since 2000 when it was handed back to the council after being used by Beverley High School for many years.
The decision to sell the freehold of the building was taken in private after the councillors considered several bids.
In a statement, the council said: "The council has held back for several years from putting it on the market to allow the charitable company Norwood House Beverley Limited (NHBL), which was set up by members of the local community, time to try to secure the funding needed to restore the property and bring it back into use primarily as a community facility and museum.
"Unfortunately, these plans made limited progress and after more than seven years it was clear the chances of NHBL securing a long-term sustainable future for the building backed by funding were remote."