A RESTORATION project to turn a historic Bewdley mansion into luxury apartments will cost owners £2m – double the initial budget.
Property developer Samuel Leeds, aged 28, says Ribbesford House, which he bought with his brother Russell at auction for £800,000 last year, is in a far worse state of repair than first anticipated.
He said: “We knew it was in a dire condition and most of the past year has been about stabilising the property and conducting a string of reports on it.
“We’ve now been told it will take at least £2m to restore it to the best possible standard.”
The Grade II listed building has a history going back beyond William the Conquerer, and was requisitioned by British, American and Free French military during the Second World War. General de Gaulle visited the house to see French cadets in training in the run-up to D-Day.
Chartered surveyor Adrian Walsh says the house was in the worst condition he has ever seen in a listed building.
“It’s taken 12 months just to fully assess it,” said Adrian. “Every imaginable problem an old building could have is present – the full A-Z of issues.
“The scale of what is involved is unbelievable. I’ve seen properties in a poor state of repair, but absolutely nothing to this extent.”
The fabric of the mansion was in a precarious state with dry rot causing whole sections to cave in.
Previous owners had split the building into 12 flats – one of which had collapsed onto the ground floor.
Adrian said: “We couldn’t even find flat six and flat seven had literally fallen down in a gale. We spent £120,000 alone on securing that.
“We spent an entire month lifting out the debris and analysing it so that we could salvage roof trusses, tiles and bricks for re-use in the renovation.”
To date, 80 sash windows have been repaired, with many more needing to be replaced entirely.
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