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National Trust Insurers Suing Builders Over 2015 Fire

Published on: 21 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 22 Jul, 2020

Clandon Park on fire April 29, 2015.

A construction company and a building consultancy are being sued by National Trust insurers Zurich Municipal over the fire that gutted 18th-century Grade 1 Clandon House near Guildford in 2015.

The blaze is believed to have been started by an electrical fault in the basement and spread through a lift shaft and voids, destroying the upper floors and roof.

Volunteers and staff managed to salvage several hundred artefacts and the building, now covered with scaffolding, is to undergo a £30m restoration.

Remains of the marble hall at Clandon House. Picture National Trust.

The claim involves building company Cuffe Plc and property consultants Tuffin Ferraby Taylor (TFT).

A spokesman for TFT said: “We are very much the junior of the defendants. The fire at Clandon Park was significant but the work we did there was minimal, and peripheral to the issues that will be contested.” Cuffe Plc has not yet commented.

The National Trust told the BBC: “Our insurers Zurich Municipal are pursuing legal action against third parties for the losses suffered at Clandon Park during the fire on 29 April 2015.

“The National Trust is providing support in that litigation and we cannot comment on any questions relating to the case.”

A local National Trust spokeswoman added: “Our focus is on essential work to care for the house.

“Subject to planning consents and delay relating to Covid-19, we are planning core conservation and repair works to the basic structure of the building as soon as possible, probably in early-mid 2021.

An artists impression from 2017 of how the restoration could look with visitors enjoying views from to roof of the surrounding parkland and the house interior.

“We are also researching the materials used in the house and its methods of construction, a full understanding of which is key to these works. We are also continuing to scope and plan the conservation of some of the 1,200 objects saved and salvaged from the house.”

Clandon House is closed to visitors, and several of the project team are on furlough.

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