The continuing saga of Hurst House

We have written all too often about the saga of Hurst House, Abercrombie Street, and what we consider is a scandal regarding its sale as a viable property (or rather how this has not happened and of the building’s decline).

Grade II listed Hurst House in better days – it has now been empty for nearly ten years. Since this picture was taken some years ago the property has declined and the gardens are now a wilderness, but some impression of what an attractive property this could once again become is given here.

We were recently contacted by a neighbouring resident concerning the state of Hurst House. The not very substantial deterrent to unauthorised entry – a piece of Heras fencing secured to the original gatepost with a chain and padlock – has been removed with bolt cutters and the grounds are being used for various antisocial (and mostly illegal) activities. There is so far no evidence of forced entry to the house itself, although our concern is that this can only be a matter of time.

We have written to the county council, as sole trustee of the Chesterfield Schools Foundation, the charity that owns Hurst House, asking them to reinstate the fencing, and to also to expedite the sale of the property, which they have supposedly had in hand for over two years, and about which the Civic Society has repeatedly made complaints to both the county council and the Charity Commission.

Little would be served by setting out here yet again the scandalous mismanagement of the charity by the county council. This saga has now been dragging on for so long that there must be a suspicion that they would not be unduly worried if someone did break in and burnt Hurst House down. The ruins could then be demolished on the grounds of public safety and the county council could sell the site for redevelopment.

A cleared site might well be easier to sell than what was once an attractive early nineteenth-century private residence which has fallen into a terrible state since the county council left it empty nearly ten years ago. For this to happen would be a further indictment of the county council’s failings as trustee, although if past performance is any guide the Charity Commission would take absolutely no action.

Several houses on Abercrombie Street have been carefully restored in recent years, including No. 28, which stands on the opposite corner of the junction with Sheffield Road, and most recently its neighbour at No. 26. These attempts to improve the overall street picture are being hampered by the county council’s neglect of Hurst House and could potentially be seriously damaged for good if the property does have to be demolished. We have also written to the borough council asking if, as the local planning authority, there is anything they can do to ensure the integrity of Hurst House.

, ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.