Future doubts for council-owned Knuston Hall as executive prepares to discuss ‘crown jewel’ facility
Knuston Hall is a Grade II listed adult residential college and conference center located near Rushden.
Members of the NNC executive deemed the issue “restricted” as the information being discussed will relate to “financial or business matters”.
Users of the facility have expressed concerns about the room’s long-term future, including Wellingborough resident Jennifer Dixon.
She said: “It is a jewel in the crown of Northamptonshire and known internationally. It would be a sad loss if it were to be confirmed that it was to close.
“I would rather he was mothballed. He is such an asset. It would make them a fortune. It would be like selling the family silverware.
“I took classes there for years. I took all the art classes and recently got into the drums. Without forgetting all the other courses offered such as lace, music, the cottage. all kinds of crafts. It is fully accessible and on a bus route unlike Chester House.
Ms Dixon, 86, was governor of Knuston Hall for three years, including in 2001 when then-owners Northamptonshire County Council announced plans to close the establishment permanently. Failed plans.
Grendon Hall will close permanently next month due to council cuts
In March 2019, the popular education and activity center Grendon Hall, owned by Northamptonshire County Council, was closed due to financial pressures. The Grade II listed property was sold in July 2020 for £1,340,000.
She said: ‘Do we want to lose another educational institution in the county? Nothing replaces his knowledge, his comfort and his good food.
A message on Knuston Hall’s website posted in March 2022 stated that the hall “is currently closed and classes are canceled until the fall of 2022”.
He said: “The (NNC) council is reviewing operations, including looking at facility improvements and security upgrades. We understand this will be disappointing for our customers and hope to conclude the review as soon as possible.
“In the meantime, we are not taking any bookings for future classes and any monies paid for classes during the cancellation period will be refunded. We will not be transferring money to future classes.
NNC Finance and Resources Review Committee member Cllr Jim Hakewill (Ind) said: ‘If the future of the much-loved Knuston Hall is to be discussed, it should be considered with all assets so that the community and all councilors can decide. their future. »
NNC has been contacted for comment.
History of Knuston Hall
Set in 40 acres of parkland, the Brudenell family estate of Deene Park near Corby was sold in 1542. By 1670 a substantial house had been built. After many improvements over the centuries, in 1865 the estate was purchased by Robert Arkwright.
After Arkwright’s death in 1888 the house was occupied by caretakers or tenants until the hall was sold in 1920. Northamptonshire County Council purchased the hall in 1949, using it for adult education courses.
The courses offered clients residential study stays of two to five nights, as well as non-residential study stays and one-day courses.
Knuston Hall has nine meeting rooms, 35 en-suite bedrooms, a dining room for up to 60 people and a bar.