In this post we look at recent developments involving the company currently the favourite to pick-up the long lease to Tapton House from Chesterfield Borough Council.
Nothing further has been made public concerning the Borough Council’s proposed sale of a long lease of Tapton House to Stone Castle Enterprise Ltd, although those concerned with the latter appear to have rearranged their interests. We have previously reviewed the ‘ins and outs’ of this company in our member newsletters, but review a few of the latest developments here. More information is available in our latest member newsletter.
In February a company named Tapton House Development Ltd was registered, with a capital of £100 in £1 shares, all of which have been allotted to Stone Castle Enterprise Ltd. There is nothing necessarily improper or unusual for property developers to register separate companies for each project they undertake, but the three individuals concerned with the proposed purchase of Tapton House do seem to have spent a good deal of time setting up and dissolving companies, and being appointed and resigning as directors. But given the post-Covid economic situation perhaps none of this is unusual.
The most recently filed accounts for Stone Castle Enterprise Ltd (the intended purchaser of Tapton House), a balance sheet headed ‘Unaudited Filleted Accounts 30 April 2022’, reveal (to use the word in its loosest sense) that the company then had current assets of £188 and creditors falling due within one year of £200, leaving net liabilities of £12. The company has an issued share capital of £100, divided into 100 shares. All this may seem a rather slender financial basis for the purchase of a three-storey Georgian mansion and the conversion of its 30 rooms into fifteen flats.
We still feel that the best chance for this building being cared for on a long-term basis is for residential use. We fail to see how ‘community based’ projects (however well-intentioned) would be able to pay for the sustainable upkeep of the building, even once restored, particularly in the present economic circumstances. How would, for example, substantial energy costs, security, routine maintenance and required enhanced insurance cover (should the building be opened to the public) be paid for? It is also worth remembering that in its long history Tapton House has never really been opened to the public.
The Civic Society will continue to monitor developments involving this Grade II* listed building and its estate.