The future of Wentworth Woodhouse – England’s largest privately owned home – has been safeguarded.

The Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust has now bought the house for £7m.

As well as welcoming visitors, WWPT’s longer-term plan is to: restore the gardens; attract local businesses to work in offices to be created in the stables; and work with local people to explore and describe its rich history.

MP John Healey has strongly backed plans for Wentworth Woodhouse from the start, fixing meetings to win support from government ministers and civil servants alongside the Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust chair Julie Kenny.

A year ago, he called on the then Chancellor to provide funds to help secure the sale. And in October 2016 he met the current Chancellor with Julie Kenny to put the case to him personally, a month before Philip Hammond announced a £7.6m grant in his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons.

John said: “Wentworth Woodhouse Preservation Trust, backed by SAVE Britain’s Heritage, have done a remarkable job to raise the money to buy the great house. This is just the start an ambitious but achievable plan to save the building and bring it back into regular use.

“I’m delighted that the sale is agreed. It’s been a long haul to get to this point. But now the Trust can press the accelerator on work to put Wentworth Woodhouse back at the heart of the community and at the heart of South Yorkshire, as it was before.

“Restoring and reopening the great house could bring a huge boost to jobs, businesses and visitors in the North.

“Julie Kenny and others have worked tirelessly over the last five years to secure backing for the project and now – finally – the sale.”