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Chair of Elvaston Castle Development Board

Derbyshire County Council has now appointed Tony Palmer as Chairman for the advisory Elvaston Castle Development Board. He will work with the Council to appoint the rest of the Board.

Tony has had a successful career in the public sector, including senior positions with British Coal and the NHS. He has had a number of roles in the voluntary sector, having been a member of the Regional Advisory Board for the National Trust in the Midlands and is currently Chairman of Trustees at Creswell Groundwork, as well as serving on the Management and Volunteer Committee at Eyam Hall, Derbyshire.

The Elvaston Castle Development Board is an advisory voluntary body that will work in partnership with the Council to develop the planned Single Management Body for the Elvaston Estate and implement the 10 year 'Vision and Plan'. The proposed Single Management Body may take the form of a charitable trust for example.

The Board will bring commercial and business acumen, innovation and enterprise to the project as it progresses, while keeping keeping true to the six guiding principles agreed by the Council as part of the Vision.

Councillor Andy Botham, Cabinet Member for Social Services, said; "I'm delighted that we've been able to appoint Tony to this vital role. Elvaston is a fantastic place and with Tony's help we are determined to get the Estate on a firm financial footing."

Tony Palmer said; "I am delighted and excited to be taking on this challenging role. It is a great opportunity to ensure that this much loved place is preserved and enhanced for future generations. To carry out this task will need an enthusiastic and committed board from all walks of life, who I am sure would feel a great sense of achievement in getting this project underway."

Recruitment has just commenced for the other board members. For more information go to; http://www.futureelvaston.co.uk/development-board/

The closing date for applications is Friday, April 10th, 2015, interviews are planned to be held on Thursday, 7th of May, 2015.

For an informal discussion about a role on the Development Board, contact Nick Sellwood, Project Manager, National Trust, on 07876 591932. 

(Article placed on 09 March 2015)

Derbyshire County Council

 We are looking for a strong Chair to lead an advisory ‘Development Board’ for Elvaston Castle that will work in partnership with Derbyshire County Council to champion the formation of a new managing body for the Estate, such as a Charitable Trust, and deliver our exciting 10 year Vision for Elvaston.

The closing date for applications is the 19th December, and interviews are scheduled for the 16th January 2015.

Once the Chair is in place, we’ll work with them to recruit the rest of the Board

For your information, the role profile for the Chair and the draft Terms of Reference for the Board are on the

www.futureelvaston.co.uk website.

Nick Sellwood

Elvaston Castle Project Development Manager

National Trust

Hardwick Consultancy Office, The Croft, Doe Lea, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S44 5QJ

 Email: nick.sellwood@nationaltrust.org.uk

Mobile: 07876 591932

For more information on 'Future for Elvaston', go to:


(Item published on November 20, 2014).

Please note, we have been asked to point out that, due to unforeseen circumstances the date of the planned drop in session outlined below has now been changed to Sunday, November 30th, the timings are unchanged.

Derbyshire County Council, with assistance from The National Trust, is planning to make a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to begin implementation of renewal plans for the Elvaston Estate. It has released the following statement;

How we fund the next steps for Elvaston – have your say

We’re planning a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to start securing the future of Elvaston. If you’d like to find out more about what this means and view the proposals, chat to the project team and leave your comments, come along to a special event on Sunday November 30th, between 10.30am and 3pm at the Gothic Hall, Elvaston Castle, DE72 3EP.  No need to book – just drop in.

If you require any further information on this event please contact Jules Rodgers, National Trust Project Development Assistant on 07789 032020.

We’d love to hear your thoughts.

From the website below;


(placed on September 30, 2014, amended October 13th)

The National Trust will be providing any updates as and when they occur with the Ten Year Vision and Plan and have asked the Friends of Elvaston to let our members and followers know that any information regarding this will be published on the following website;


Naturally, we will also keep our readership informed where we are able to. Meanwhile, if anyone has any further ideas from which the Estate might benefit, please let us know. The National Trust has carried out an excellent job on behalf of the County Council so far and will be involved for some time to come.

 In the mean time, if there are people out there whose grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles previously worked on the Estate, either for the Earls of Harrington, or in the early days after the Park first opened to the public (Good Friday, 1970), please contact us with their stories. Any anecdotes, photographs or general information will be passed on via our Facebook page (FB, Friends of Elvaston Castle) which is widely read and appreciated. We are very proud of our Face Book page, run by our Vice-Chair, Sandra Hull, who puts in many hours of unsung work to ensure that it goes from strength to strength. In fact, the page has managed to bring a number of people with various interests in the Estate together and long may it continue to do so.

(Article published on 23/06/14)  

Derbyshire County Council has had a great response to our two public consultation events on the draft 10-year Vision and Plan for Elvaston Castle and Estate, but is also really keen to encourage you to complete the on-line consultation questionnaire, which can be found at:


The draft Vision and Plan can be viewed on-line at:


If you would like a paper copy of the draft Vision and Plan please contact Julie Rodgers, National Trust on the email address above or by telephone on 07789 032020

Make sure you take this opportunity to help shape the future of Elvaston Castle and Estate

Remember, the consultation period ends on the 5th March 2014

Thank you

(Item inserted on 21/02/14) 

The National Trust has summarised the results of the September workshops which it held in several different locations in order to gauge and record public opinion on any future plans for Elvaston Castle Country Park (ECCP), as well as providing an online consultation. Although we will not learn of the Trust's conclusions and professional advice and guidance to Derbyshire County Council until some point in the New Year, it is fairly clear from the comments and opinions of the public, published in the summary, that the majority view is still very much as it always has been and public opinion over the future of the Estate is as strong as ever. Over 3000 comments have been gathered during this important exercise and, as well as outlining the difficulties and challenges faced by the County Council in attempting to discover a sustainable future and the best way forward for the Estate, it has become apparent that the euphemistic term,  'enabling development', has caused possibly the most consternation amongst lovers of ECCP. For those people who are unfamiliar with the term, basically, enabling development describes a compromise solution in relation to national heritage assets, whereby an easement of normal planning restrictions allows parts of a heritage site to be developed with schemes which would not otherwise be allowed under normal circumstances. The revenue raised from any such scheme would then be used to restore, maintain, or protect, the remaining main part of the asset. A crude analogy might be the chopping off of a limb to prevent the death of the rest of the body. Although it is a fairly complex issue the end result as far as most of us are concerned is that one or other much loved parts of the whole may have to go in order to preserve the greater part of it. In the case of ECCP, these are identified as being; Home Farm, the site of the former Kennels Cottage, The Framery, the site of the former Thatched Cottage, the site of the former Real Tennis Court and the former London Road Lodges and what it means is that in the final analysis, failing any better rescue plans, privately owned residential apartments could appear on the above named sites (with, possibly, others to follow elsewhere, who can say?). To be fair to Derbyshire County Council, it states that enabling development will only be looked at as a final resort, in other words, if no better or more tangible ideas or schemes are available or on the table when the time comes to move things on. What is alarming is the fact that in some of the comments on this very issue, in the National Trust workshops and online surveys, a small number of commentators see this as acceptable 'if it is the only way to save the Park', a false battle cry we can remember from other, similarly misguided people not too long ago. 

Most can see that this is the thin end of the wedge and, as far as the Friends of Elvaston are concerned, is the stuff of nightmares, completely and utterly unacceptable, especially as it would mean even greater intrusion into the Park, shrinking it even further and creating areas which the public cannot access and where the government's published figures of the amount of public open space needed in a given area fall far short of their target in both Derby City and South Derbyshire, exacerbated even more by the rampant housing developments in the south of the City, both planned and already underway. The only possible situation in which enabling development could be seen as justifiable is if it was administered in order to create accommodation for Elvaston Castle Estate workers in support of viable future restoration projects. Nothing else is acceptable as far as we are concerned, nor, it appears, the majority of the general public.

(Article published, December 6th, 2013).

Firstly, before we inform you of the latest update, we must apologise to everyone who has recently found this page to be out of date, rather than an update - this is because we have been experiencing some technical glitches within our system files which have now (hopefully!) been rectified.

Anyone who listened to Radio Derby's recent broadcast about the current situation with Elvaston Castle Country Park, or read the Derby Telegraph article on the subject;


will now know that Derbyshire County Council, working jointly with the National Trust, has announced plans for a series of public consultations on the future of Elvaston Castle and these will be aimed at all members of society, public, private and voluntary sectors.

Four public workshops are to be held;

October 2nd at Shardlow Village Hall, between 6:45 and 9:00pm.

October 10th at the Golden Hour, Maple Drive, Chellaston, again between 6:45 and 9:00pm.

October 13th at the Gothic Hall, Elvaston Castle, from 10:15am to 12:30pm.

October 13th at the Gothic Hall, Elvaston Castle, from 2:20pm.

Please note that the first date is a Wednesday,  the second a Thursday and the third date (The Gothic Hall) has a Sunday morning and an afternoon session.

The County Council and the National Trust wish to gather the broadest number of ideas and opinions possible in order to discover the most suitable and sustainable way of ensuring the future of the Elvaston Estate. A 'ten year vision' for the development of the final blueprint is envisaged and it is widely recognised that there is no 'overnight solution' available but that in order to do the job properly all options must be carefully weighed. 

Please attend the workshops if you are able to go and don't forget to take your ideas with you! The workshops are free to attend but need to be booked in advance by contacting Julie Rodgers of the National Trust, on 07789 032020 by telephone, or; julie.rodgers@nationaltrust.org.uk , by email.

If you are unable to attend the workshops but wish to take part in the consultation, an online questionnaire can be found at; www.futureelvaston.co.uk

*Please note that the date for completion and return of the online form is Monday, October 21st.

We urge everyone who cares passionately about Elvaston Castle to take part in this consultation.

(This item published September 19th, 2013).

Friends of Elvaston Castle on Facebook

We sincerely hope that you are all keeping up with the Facebook page of the Friends of Elvaston and joining in if you have any news, information, stories, memories about the Castle, the Stanhope family, or the local people who have lived and worked on the Estate and its environs in the past. This page is now very popular and has a lot of followers, why not join them?


(This item published September 19th, 2013).

Volunteers are being sought in order to carry out a customer/visitor feedback survey at Elvaston Castle Country Park during the week running 22nd - 28th of July. As little as an hour of your time (or as long as you wish to commit to) will be needed. The survey will partly coincide with 'Love Parks Week', 2013, (July 27 - August 4th) and is designed to gather information on the experiences of people visiting the Park. This has nothing to do with the forthcoming public consultation on the future of the Park under a National Trust/Derbyshire County Council partnership arrangement, but is designed to help inform the Management/staff at the Park as to the impressions gained by visitors and to help them to pick up on any areas which might benefit as a result. There are already opportunities for people to pass on their experiences, both online and on paper, but visitors, especially tourists, are not always aware of them. Anyone who would like to take part in administering the survey (or to volunteer for other areas where they might be able to help) is asked to ring the Assistant Area and Park Manager, Mrs Gill Forrester, on (01629) 533875. This is a good excuse for helping yourself to both some fresh air and exercise too, in the beautiful surroundings of the Country Park.  

For over a year (with the support of the Friends of Elvaston), Roger Moors, CEO of Social Enterprise East Midlands (SEEM) attempted to negotiate a community led solution to the problems faced by Derbyshire County Council with Elvaston Castle Country Park. The hope was that a way forward could be secured which encompasses both the needs of stakeholders with the ever pressing need to raise extra funding which the Council has to find to support the repair and running costs of the Estate. SEEM was looking to marry socially responsible business initiatives with the needs of the many and diverse groups of stakeholders who use the Country Park on a daily basis. Whilst advancing this solution, Roger Moors was involved at the highest level in talks involving the Council, The National Trust and other agencies which might be called on to provide expertise and funding to enable a solution to be found to the problems with Elvaston Castle. The solution was supported by Locality, a Government recognised charity charged with promoting the Localism Act amongst community groups. Elvaston Castle Country Park was chosen as one of five national pilot projects by Locality, so that a great deal of its available resources could be directed to the benefit of the initiative. Indeed, two consecutive Design Days were planned so that experts, versed in the necessary disciplines needed to carry out all the tasks which bringing the Estate back to life would need, could be recruited to the task. 

We had already begun this process when the Council announced that its preferred way forward with Elvaston Castle was in partnership with The National Trust. Naturally, at first we considered this to be a setback as we not only have confidence in the strength of our list of professional contacts but also some advanced ideas for restoring the life-blood of Elvaston Castle. 

The Council has now chosen what it sees as the best way forward for the Estate, its partnership with The National Trust, for which it has now committed £125,000 to fund the appointment of a Project Officer and other work connected with the Trust's involvement.

We wish the Council well with this and look forward to the public consultation it has stated will be held on the matter, the methodology of which is now being worked out between the Council and the National Trust.

When this consultation is launched we will all be able to study the proposals in detail prior to commenting on them.


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