With dwindling public funds available, and priorities elsewhere by 1990 the castle was considered unsafe and was closed to visitors. Derbyshire County Council could no longer afford to repair and maintain the building and country park; In 2000, the council estimated the country park’s running costs were £500,000 a year, and that they were facing a backlog of restoration work which would cost £3,000,000.
In 2006, Derbyshire County Council commissioned a report, which estimated the castle and estate required at least £6.1 million of work and materials in essential repairs, with a maximum permitted overspend of 7% greater if it was decided to re-open the building to the public or sell it in repaired form.
Whilst development partners were interested in the Castle a combination of public opposition and difficulty creating a plan which would achieve a suitable balance of development and access none of these ideas cam to fruition.
In 2013 The County Council asked The National Trust for help to create a future vision. Alongside the development of initial development concepts and business plans, options for the future management of the estate needed to be developed.
In 2015 the County Council recruited a Project Development Board to help it shape a future for the Estate as a charitable enterprise, further developing the Masterplan and exploring options for a sustainable future. This led to the formation of a totally independent board of Trustees in 2017, the formation of a charity, and the beginning of a new era for the estate.
Since 2017 Derbyshire County Council has been working with the newly formed Elvaston Castle and Gardens Trust to develop a masterplan for the Elvaston Castle Estate. The work builds on the ‘Vision’ that the County Council produced in partnership with the National Trust. Comments on a draft version of the masterplan were sought from the public and other key stakeholders in June and July of 2018. Following this, the masterplan has been ammended.
We look forward to seeing where the future will take us in this remarkable place.