Ashton Court Mansion: August 2019 update

Bristol City Council has acted very quickly on receipt of the report from Purcell. The City Council will be appointing agents and marketing the Mansion for disposal on a long lease, probably 99 or 125 years.

There is no information yet on likely timescales for the process but officers state that they wish to get on with it and resolve the future of the Mansion without delay.

Bristol Civic Society has been invited to act as a “critical friend” during this process. Details of this role are yet to be resolved.

We welcome the decision to market Ashton Court Mansion – there is clearly no funding within the City Council to carry out such a challenging renovation and there does appear to be private sector interest.

More details as they emerge.

Simon Birch

8 Comments

  1. As one woman commented wasn’t Ashton Court left to the people of Bristol to be enjoyed by them? I guess this is legal but how did they circumnavigate their wishes? And what say if any are the people of Bristol going to have in who this lease is sold to? Will it have to have a community benefit? Or can it just be carved up into flats? It seems like a bit of a disgrace if it is the latter. Also the public mostly enjoy the grounds immediately adjacent to or the courtyard of the mansion so what would happen with that? I think a petition needs to be launched. The council need to find more money or the city needs to have a whip around, but we can’t just let it be thrown to the highest bidder. This is one of the greatest things about Bristol – about to be sold off.

    1. It will be ran the same way as Kingsweston house. The whole of the top of ACM is derelict. The house needs some kind of occupancy to keep it from damp.
      It will be open to the public still. Have an event space cafe,hire venue. I will be backing my good friend along with many others all the way. The worst choice the council would make is to not sell. Had been loosing hundreds of thousands.

  2. We have been looking at options for the future of the Mansion for some time now. It’s clear that the City Council doesn’t have the resources (finance or staff) to renovate such a large building in such poor condition. Cost of up to £20 m have been mentioned for a full refurbishment!
    The sale details are being worked up but will include public access to most of the ground floor rooms.
    A good precedent is Kings Weston House, owned by City Council, let on a very long lease, and in good condition with public access to the principal rooms.
    The very worst option for Ashton Court Mansion would be the City Council taking no action.

  3. Bristol City Council purchased all of Ashton Court, the house and the grounds, in 1959 for £130K from the Smyth estate. The grounds are very popular and much used for events, but for 60 years the Council has struggled and failed to find a use for a mostly derelict Grade-1 listed country house. As Simon Birch says, full refurbishment could cost £20m and more. The Council quite reasonably cannot justify spending this kind of money and is doing the right thing at last by marketing the house.
    I have been involved with efforts to save Ashton Court since 2005 and I see this as a positive move forward for Bristol’s largest undiscovered treasure.

  4. Yesterday’s open day was a wonderful chance to see inside this very special building again. Still beautiful and gracious despite being in such urgent need of repair. Let us hope that it soon has a secure future and preferably a future which still permits the people of Bristol to visit and enjoy it.

  5. Unfortunately Ashton court mansion isn’t being fully utilised and has been loosing a lot of money for some time. Don’t think any petition will stop the right person taking over the house whom has worked in smaller,though still very large projects. I know just the person and we will be baking him all the way.

    1. They have not chosen a buyer yet as I understand it. Louisa?

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