Ambitious scheme to revamp Newstead Abbey

09-1542-1''Newstead Abbey West Front

09-1542-1''Newstead Abbey West Front

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A GLOBAL organisation is spearheading an ambitious new bid to regenerate Newstead Abbey.

Representatives of the World Monument Fund (WMF) were among about 60 people who took part in a seminar at the abbey, which was Lord Byron’s ancestral home.

Founded in 1965, the WMF plays a major role in helping to restore important but ailing historic sites around the world.

The fund’s chief executive officer in Britain, Jonathan Foyle, said: “The necessary planning and relationship-building takes enormous work even to prepare for direct conservation. By its nature, this is an ongoing process.

“But the investment of time can enable beautiful buildings to be enjoyed by many people.

“Newstead Abbey already has a lot going for it but getting and maintaining support from the local community is absolutely vital.”

Coun David Trimble, the lead member for culture on Nottingham City Council, which owns the abbey, spoke during the first part of the seminar.

He said the major cuts suffered by the council in public funding had impacted on services right across the board.

A reduction in opening times at the abbey, which attracts Byron fans from many parts of the world, has proved highly controversial.

But Coun Trimble said: “I am confident we are doing all that can be done within our limited resources to maintain and improve the abbey.

“At the same time, it is a big step forward for the WMF to become involved. It is exactly right that this has happened.”

Talks followed on how the WMF has inspired spectacularly successful projects to restore the former Gorton Monastery in Manchester and Horace Walpole’s self-styled ‘little castle’ in Twickenham, London.