Cash-strapped Wakefield Council chiefs are seeking to offload a stunning 17th century house and gardens in a bid to save cash and protect front-line services.
The local authority has owned Grade 2 listed Woolley Hall since 1953 and earns cash from renting it out as a wedding and conference venue.
Now the council is seeking to sell the hall and 20 acres of grounds on a 250 year lease with the condition that it must continue as a wedding and conference facility.
A report to next Tuesday’s meeting of Wakefield Council’s cabinet committee states: “The saving on annual running costs supports the protection of key front line services to the public.”
A council spokesman said: “If the recommendations go ahead, Woolley Hall will no longer be run by the council but will still continue to operate as a wedding and conference venue and could also be used as a hotel.
“A specialist operator will be responsible for managing the facility and implementing necessary improvements to the building.
Coun Graham Stokes, Wakefield Council’s cabinet member for Corporate Performance, said: “The council has to save money – we have no choice. But we are committed to keeping the hall in public use and to protect the jobs of the staff and honour existing bookings.
“The option of disposing of the hall through a conditional, very long lease means we can do all that and Woolley Hall will still be available for people to use and enjoy - this is a new future for Woolley Hall.”
Woolley Hall original belonged to the Woodrove, or Woodroffe, family who sold it to the Wentworth family in 1559.
Sir Richard Woodroffe was the High Sherif of York between 1510 and 1518.
The present Woolley Hall is an example of early Jacobean architecture and was built in 1635 and renovated around 1800 by architect sir Jeffry Wyatville, who was employed by George IV to remodel Windsor Castle.