We all want this fine landmark to be saved
GOOD to see the article and editorial in The Post (Jan 2) about Ashton Court Mansion. It is one of Bristol's true undiscovered treasures which is a landmark on the skyline for all of us.
This beautiful but neglected jewel of a building deserves to be much better known.
I applaud the efforts of Bristol City Council in engaging a firm of conservation architects.
They have an important job to do to plan the restoration and– even more challenging to come up with a business plan that will secure the sustainability of the mansion and put it on a strong financial footing.
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The "£25m repair bill" quoted on the front page of The Post needs to be put in context a little.
First we are talking about comprehensive restoration of a large, complex and much-altered house, parts of which are hundreds of years old and built in various different architectural styles.
Indeed Ashton Court Mansion possibly shows a wider range of architecture than any other building in the country; one reason why this house is such an extraordinary and valuable heritage asset for our city.
As the article says, the house is secure and watertight, so "restoration" describes this exciting project more than repairs.
Secondly, the project today is at the start. As the article says, a detailed digital survey is under way which for the first time will give a full picture of what we are dealing with.
It is not really possible to come up with any kind of estimate for a yet-to-be-determined solution when we don't even know the size of the problem.
As an comparison though, nearby Tyntesfield House owned by the National Trust was granted £17.4m in 2006 by the National Heritage Memorial Fund to help fund restoration. So we are roughly in the right ball park.
Surely all Bristolians want one of our finest landmarks to be saved, restored and secure for the future?
WHAT better way to start the New Year than to read in The Post the news that plans are afoot to discuss the refurbishment of the historic Ashton Court Mansion.
The question surely is why has it taken decades to get to this point? Should it perhaps have been offered to the National Trust years ago?
I have visited many properties that now belong to the Trust that have been lovingly restored and looked after and open to the public for all to enjoy.
We really must treasure our iconic buildings, not allow them to fall into such a state of ruin that it then takes much more money to put right than it would have if work had been done sooner.
Any householder will know that is false economy.
IF someone can take on Kingsweston House and makes it not only habitable but also a business resource, why can't someone take on Ashton Court?
History shows councils are useless at looking after buildings. They always let them fall into disrepair and then vast sums of money have to be found to restore buildings into a useful and value resource.
Ashton Court is such a wonderful place that is under used and allowed to deteriorate to such a degree that I would expect some sort of enquiry into why such a heritage property was allowed to become so.
If Norman Routledge can restore and see a future for Kingsweston House surely there is some way to keep Ashton Court up and ready.
We have a qualified architect as Bristol's first Mayor.
He must know someone who could make a difference that would benefit this great city. At a fair and reasonable cost.
But for goodness sake let's stop all this procrastination that has been going on for years, get a decision made to save this property asap and make Bristolians proud.