Himley Hall will not be sold, council bosses insist
Historic Himley Hall will not be sold off, bosses at cash-strapped Dudley Council have insisted.
The future of parts of the estate was clouded in uncertainty after it was listed on disposal list.
But the council, which owns the estate, labelled the 18th century hall as the 'jewel in the crown' and said selling it was not an option.
The authority has revealed plans to sell off many of its assets to raise funds.
It comes after the authority said last month the estate's 'wide range of buildings and green spaces' would be 'looked at as part of the strategy'.
Regeneration boss Councillor Ian Kettle has now moved to allay any fears the hall could be sold off.
He said the council would looking at how it could make more money from the landmark, which hosts weddings and conferences.
Councillor Kettle said: "The new Corporate Estate Strategy is much more than just a cost-cutting exercise.
“It is true that we will be looking at possible ways of reducing our costs. And it is true that could be achieved by disposing of some of our assets.
“But the review will also - and this is very important when we are talking about Himley Hall - look at ways of maximising the potential of our assets. It is already a very popular venue for weddings and conferences and brings in money for the authority.
“Coupled with its undoubted historical value, for me that very much makes it a jewel in the crown for this authority. We will be looking at ways we can make more use of it, rather than looking to sell it off.”
A list of assets to be potentially sold off published in a council report included 'various parts' of the Himley estate.
The sprawling estate includes the Great Pool, a nine-hole golf course, cafe and car park all set in 180 acres of ‘Capability’ Brown landscape and woodland. There are also various outbuildings.
Bosses in Dudley are under pressure to balance the books over the next few years and need to save £5.6 million by 2020. They will aim to bring money into the coffers by selling off buildings and land no longer needed.
Dudley's largest bonfire and fireworks display attracts thousands of families every year, along with popular summer events such as Armed Forces Day. The grounds also stage part of the Race for Life run.
The Hall itself hosts various exhibitions and stages weddings and conferences all year round. Himley Park is visited by 200,000 people every year. The Great Pool is also used by Himley Hall Sailing Club.