Harewood cottages sale to fund green heat

The Harewood estate is selling 30 cottages to fund an ambitious plan to heat its buildings and the historic house with green energy.

The £150,000 a year fuel bills for Harewood House and its stable block will be cut by a third when it switches from oil and electricity to a biomass boiler.

The wood chip boiler will also slash costs at the estate’s headquarters, offices it lets to local businesses and some of its cottages.

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David Lascelles, Earl of Harewood, said: “This is an ethical and economically sound investment. It will drastically reduce the carbon footprint of the estate and help us become sustainable for the next century.

“Biomass makes perfect sense for us because we can source timber from our own woodlands, which is a renewable source.”

The £1m-plus project will be funded by the sale of 30 of the estate’s 85 cottages. The first 11 will be on the market at the end of the month and include cottages on Leeds Road and The Avenue in Harewood. Another batch will be released in April and the last in autumn.

Tony Wright, head of residential at Carter Jonas, Harrogate, is handling the sale and said he expected a great deal of interest. Prices start from £150,000 and the properties have between two and four bedrooms. Some are in need of modernisation.

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It is the first time on the market for the 18th century homes designed by architect John Carr, who created Harewood House.

The new heating system should be up and running by spring next year, though the grade one listed house won’t be connected until around 2015. The boiler is expected to pay for itself in seven years and will also generate an income.

The green heat will be sold to the tenanted offices and to Harewood House, which operates independently of the 4,000 acre estate and is administered by a separate charitable trust.

Lord Harewood says: “By realising the value of some of our cottages and reinvesting in green energy, we will be able to safeguard the future of Harewood’s historic landscape and the major buildings it contains.”