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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Trust says work is done after Rose Castle saved

A trust which helped save Rose Castle from falling into the hands of developers has announced that its job is done.

Bryan Gray photo
Bryan Gray

The decision by Church Commissioners in 2009 to sell off the building near Dalston was met with outrage from the public and historians.

The public rallied together to save the building, initially forming a steering group but – once it became clear a sale was imminent – a petition was put together calling for a stay of execution.

With 2,000 names gathered in two weeks, the Church Commissioners agreed in September 2010 to delay the marketing of Rose Castle for two years to allow the public to raise funds to acquire it themselves.

In March 2011 the steering group opted to set up as a charitable trust, and then discovered Cumbria Building Preservation Trust which was already in existence.

That trust, through its parent charity Heritage Trust for the North West, had a long experience of finding new uses for historic buildings at risk and so decided to join forces.

After efforts to establish a future, last year the idea was first mooted about the building’s potential as an International Centre for Reconciliation.

The Rose Castle Foundation was subsequently set up and, being led by a small group of community and business leaders, is in the process of working with the Church Commissioners to raise the funds for the new centre.

In turn, the commissioners have extended the deadline until June to allow the idea to fully take shape.

Bryan Gray, chairman of Cumbria Building Preservation Trust (CBPT), said: “The CBPT trustees can now reflect that their objectives have been accomplished: an appropriate and viable new use has been found for Rose Castle, which will ensure that it will not be sold to a private developer and will continue to serve the Diocese and beyond.

“Cumbria BPT will now go into hibernation but standby ready to help rescue any other historic buildings at risk in Cumbria.”

There is intense interest in religious circles over what the future will hold for Rose Castle and what significance it might have on the world stage.

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