- Warwick District Council
- United Kingdom
UPDATED VERSION (April 21, 2010)
The medieval Eastgate in the historic town of Warwick has been sold. The auction took place on Wednesday April 14 at 6pm. The Grade-II listed property had a guide price of £125,000. It was not possible at short notice to persuade Warwick District Council or any other public body to attempt to take it over, and it was sold by auction for £215,000 to a professional surveyor, Mr Robert Newman, who himself lives near Warwick in a listed building. He has stated that he intends to repair it and initially use it as a holiday flat, with a view to eventually living in it himself with his wife.
Eastgate has seen many changes since it was first part of the defensive system of the town in the twelfth century. The small chapel of St. Peter's perched on top of it, dated to the mid 15th century, but was in a ruinous state by 1571. The ancient monument’s clock tower is difficult to access and repair has been neglected, resulting in the clock permanently standing at seven minutes to three. Its three large rooms from 1879 until recently were used as classrooms by the adjoining King’s High School for Girls.
The structure, claims the Warwick Society, is ‘iconic’, and important in its own right, as an old town gate and a chapel, and as a symbol of the town’s character. It is, they say, self-evidently in poor condition, badly affected by traffic swirling round it, with limited access and unusual accommodation, and it has no clear and economically viable future use. But they still have hopes it can be saved for the town. Their main concern appears to be that nobody will be able to afford the cost of upkeep in these straitened times.
May I express my thanks to those people who signed this petition about Warwick's East Gate, and for the many messages of support. Since the building has now been sold to a private bidder, the request to the Council to negotiate to buy it has become irrelevant. However, the petition will still be presented to the Council on my behalf by Councillor Elizabeth Higgins at their meeting on 28th April. The emphasis however, is now on the part of the petition that asks them to ensure that the building is not allowed to deteriorate, and ensuring that repairs are appropriate and in keeping with the building's historical status. This, I hope, can be done by the right kind of dialogue with the new owner. I have already had a meeting with the Council, and had assurances on this point.
It only remains to wish the new owner the best, and hope that he will look after the building in the way most Warwickians and our many sympathisers would want.
THIS PETITION HAS NOW BEEN EXTENDED AND IS DUE TO BE PRESENTED AT A WARWICK DISTRICT COUNCIL MEETING ON 28TH APRIL, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE OUTCOME OF THE AUCTION.
We the undersigned petition Warwick District Council to involve itself in negotiations to ensure a secure future for the East Gate of Warwick as part of the heritage of our County Town prior to its auction on 14th April, and if necessary to make financial arrangements of a permanent or interim nature, including the possibility of purchase, to enable the Council to achieve this end.
The Save Warwick's East Gate petition to Warwick District Council was written by John Walker and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.