ERYC Leader Cllr Anne Handley.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s Cabinet has today (16 April, 2024) agreed to offer a 125-year lease of Burnby Hall in Pocklington to Pocklington Town Council at a peppercorn rent.

It has now been agreed that Burnby Hall will be declared surplus to the requirements of East Riding of Yorkshire Council after it becomes vacant at the end of September this year.

Burnby Hall dates back to the 1860s, and is adjacent to Burnby Hall gardens. The hall and gardens were bequeathed in trust to the people of Pocklington by Major Percy Stewart and his wife Katherine, with the Burnby Hall Garden and Museum Trust being established in 1964 to manage the Gardens and administer the Stewart Museum.

The hall was sold to Pocklington Rural District Council to raise money to maintain the gardens. It was extended in the 1980s with the construction of the Community Hall. It transferred to East Riding of Yorkshire Council when the authority was created in 1996.

Covenants, which can be enforced by the Stewart Trust, mean that the building must be used by the public sector.

The building is currently underused, and also needs significant expenditure on maintenance. It will be vacated by the end of September, and the council’s registrars will transfer to the Pocela Centre in the town.

Pocklington Town Council has previously asked for the building to be transferred to them as a Community Asset Transfer. They now plan to create a Community Hub and Enterprise Centre, including a meeting space, and offices for community interest groups and business start-ups, as well as space for a Youth Group, a Food Bank, and an Archaeological Museum.

The Town Council will lease the building at a peppercorn rent, and will establish a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) to manage and run it.

Throughout the process, the Stewart Trust have supported these proposals, and a public meeting was held last August, which saw unanimous support for these plans for the building.

Councillor Anne Handley, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said :

“I am delighted that we have today agreed this transfer of a much loved feature of Pocklington to Pocklington Town Council. This will be an excellent solution to secure the future of Burnby Hall, and opens up some wonderful possibilities for its future use, and for the local community.”

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