The trustees of visitor attraction Bodelwyddan Castle near Rhyl have put the 125-year lease they hold on a large part of the property up for sale, with advisor LSH suggesting possible uses as residential, educational or conferencing.
Bodelwyddan Castle Trust, which runs the castle, museum and art gallery, has taken the decision to close this year following the withdrawal of a £144,000 support grant from Denbighshire County Council. In total, 99 years remain on the lease. What is on offer is around 15,800 sq ft in the castle, plus 55 acres and a lodge building.
Lambert Smith Hampton director Colin Jennings, who is advising the trust on the sale, said: “Whilst it’s clearly disappointing to see the closure of Bodelwydden Castle, its sale will provide a unique opportunity for a purchaser to develop this prominent listed building into an alternative tourist attraction to complement the recent investments in nearby centres along the A55.
“Alternatively, the property could be converted back to residential or educational use, or as a conference centre.”
The trust said that it wants to use the money it will raise to continue its public education role and allow access to its collection of Welsh art by linking to a charity with a similar ethos. Staff numbers have already been cut from 13 to seven with 130 paintings having to be returned to the National Portrait Gallery.
Set in 260 acres, the castle dates from before 1460, but was renovated in the 1830s by the Williams family. The site also houses the Bourne Leisure-owned Warner hotel. Lowther College, a private girls’ school, was based on site from 1920 to 1982.
Dr Helen Papworth, who chairs the trust, said: “In the three years that I have been a trustee, I have seen the impact of costs savings.
“We believe that the sale of the lease will enable our resources to be used for similar charitable purposes, providing visitors to North Wales, and local people, with continued access to the collection of Welsh artworks stored at the castle.”
She added that the sale of the lease will enable the trust to invest its assets in another charitable organisation, one with similar objectives, while offering the purchaser the opportunity to develop the property over a ‘substantial period of time’.