To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment at the present level of four general craftsmen involved in repair work, when he expects the historic monument of Leigh Barton to be open to the general public; how much has been spent on restoration and renovation work since the monument was taken into public ownership in 1986; whether the funds are available to complete the necessary work; and if he will make a statement as to his policy on restoring historic monuments so that they can be safely open to the public.
Since its acquisition in 1974, work to Leigh Barton has cost about £300,000. English Heritage expects to have to spend another £250,000 before the programme of work can be completed. It has not been possible for it to give the work the priority that it would wish because of other demands on its financial resources. The work is now expected to recommence in 1994–95 and continue into 1995–96, when English Heritage will review the future opening arrangements.English Heritage is committed to putting its estate into good repair, maintaining it and managing it efficiently for the benefit of the nation. The properties in care cover a wide variety of England's historic buildings and monuments. In some instances it is appropriate for English Heritage to consider an alternative use for its properties, rather than maintain them solely for public access with a custodial presence. In the case of Leigh Barton, English Heritage is looking at a possible alternative use for the farmhouse which could generate an income and be compatible with some future public access.