Society hopes Hurst House debacle on way to being resolved

Chesterfield and District Civic Society are hopeful that neglected Hurst House will soon be for sale – one of the first steps in assuring a future for the Grade II listed building on Abercrombie Street, Chesterfield.

Empty since 2014, the property has been part of a wrangle involving the Chesterfield Schools Foundation charity, who owned the property, and transfer of that charity’s assets into a county-wide Foundation Derbyshire charity. The society has been concerned for some time over what it sees as a failure to resolve this and various other issues including the sale of Hurst House. The property has been deteriorating and has recently been the subject of break-in attempts.

Society Chairman Howard Borrell says; ‘I have had a positive discussion with County Councillor Lud Ramsey and the County Council’s Corporate Secretary about Hurst House. Apparently, several months ago it was agreed that the property would be marketed – with action on this now to be chased.  It was also agreed that some remedial work might be carried out to give the property a good chance of being sold.

‘Security issues were also raised with an acceptance that this needs to be improved.  In short, the society is now much more hopeful for the future of this property and hopes it will be soon sold into an owner who will be able to care for it.

Chesterfield and District Civic Society Chairman Howard Borrell (Left) with Society Secretary Frank Gorman outside Hurst House.  

Society Hon. Secretary Frank Gorman comments: ‘We remain concerned about various aspects of the charity and its amalgamation. For example, educational grants to applicable Chesterfield people have not been made for some time. The building has also been empty for far too long and repairs should not be charged to the charity but borne by the county council, who have let this situation develop. We are hopeful, though, that this part of the saga, involving Hurst House, is now nearing at least the beginning of the end.’

Built as a private house in about 1840, Hurst House was occupied by Chesterfield Grammar School from 1928 until 1967, later becoming a popular community education centre. It is listed in Historic England’s ‘National Heritage List for England’ and sits within the Abercrombie Street Conservation Area.

The society has pledged to continue monitoring Hurst House, which it sees as an important building in Chesterfield and is currently listed on its own ‘Unloved and Heritage Buildings at Risk’.

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