We were very fortunate that the managing director of Stone Castle Enterprise, Dan Pattrick, had agreed to speak about his plans for Tapton House at our AGM in September.
We made it clear that members of Friends of Tapton House were welcome to attend, as long as Dan was given a courteous reception and a fair hearing, and this was the outcome. No property developer is under any obligation to explain to a local civic society what his plans are, much less to make a round trip of a fifty miles on a weekday evening after a full day’s work to do so, and for this we are grateful. Dan spoke with candour about the problems his former company had had during the pandemic, and how he and his fellow directors had rebuilt the business into Stone Castle Enterprise
Dan then outlined his plans for Tapton House, which included no new buildings – not as has been reported locally. All development is proposed within the historic house building and its annex. He also outlined just what land would be included within the sale – which is significantly less than that envisaged in the originally published sale details. Dan also floated possible ideas on some limited occasional public access and heritage interpretation opportunities – perhaps, through for example, the annual Heritage Open Days events.
Dan’s talk attracted a good deal of questioning, most of it critical, which he dealt with well. He may not have convinced those doggedly opposed to any scheme for residential conversion for Tapton House (who have conspicuously failed to produce a viable alternative) but he probably allayed the fears of those who had doubts about the details of his plans.
There is no doubt that Dan and his colleagues have done a huge amount of preparatory work at their own expense on Tapton House, and it is clear that the Borough Council have investigated very carefully the soundness of his company’s finances. On the evidence available so far, Stone Castle’s plans undoubtedly offers the best (if not the only) chance of securing the future of Tapton House.
As a Civic Society we will obviously be keeping a close eye on developments at this Grade II* listed building.