New leaseholder provides burst of optimism for site

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PRIVATE operation of Entally Estate by Virgin Australia co- founder Rob Sherrard has brought optimism to the historical site's future.

Mr Sherrard is set to become the new leaseholder of Entally Estate, with plans for a new pub, a grassed picnic area and a playground.

Meander Valley Council Mayor Craig Perkins said it was a good outcome for the property.

"They've got a track record of working within the tourism industry, and also owning and managing heritage property, so I think there is a good connection," Mr Perkins said.

Former National Trust president Lionel Morrell said he was still concerned about the private benefits to be obtained from the public property.

"Mr Sherrard has Quamby of course, but there was a lot of discontent in heritage organisations about the radical changes that were made to Lake House, and I wouldn't like to see that happen to Entally," Mr Morrell said.

"It is a valuable asset and, quite apart from the property, there is furniture, paintings and the like, all of which were donated to the government by well meaning families."

Former Friends of Entally president Elizabeth Lee said she was pleased that someone who could properly maintain Entally Estate was taking it over.

"When Parks and Wildlife took it over it started to fall. They gave you no support and seemed disinterested," Mrs Lee said.

"Private operators try and make a positive influence on things."

Youth Futures chief executive Harry Tams said the commitment by heritage minister Brian Wightman, to allow its youth programs to maintain the estates' vineyards and wine, remained.

"We have been talking to Mr Sherrard - a month or two ago - and we were pretty excited about the prospect of having something like that happening, and he was receptive to working with Youth Futures."

Mr Sherrard could not be contacted yesterday.

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