Tuesday, January 29th, 2019 7:37am By Ed Oldfield Share on Facebook Share on Messenger Share on Messenger Share on Twitter Share on Whatsapp It's been closed since the council moved out in 2013 A rescue plan has been approved for a landmark council-owned mansion in Devon facing an uncertain future after a plan to sell it was blocked. Torbay Council has agreed to set up a charitable trust to run historic Oldway Mansion at Paignton, a former stately home which in September was put on the Victorian Society’s national list of most endangered buildings. The council will work with the new trust to apply for Heritage Lottery Fund grants to pay for repairs allowing the building to reopen. The listed mansion was built at the end of the 19th Century in the French Renaissance style for the Singer family who made their fortune from sewing machines. Last summer councillors rejected a plan from Torbay’s elected mayor to start the process to sell it. Consultants were then brought in who produced a business plan showing how the mansion could be financially viable. It has been closed since the council stopped using it in 2013 and has been costing around £10,000 a month for maintenance and security, although the grounds have remained open to the public. Councillor Chris Robson, chairman of the Oldway Working Party, has confirmed the first steps have been taken towards setting up a charity that will enable the community to take over the mansion. An agreement will be drawn up about how the council and trust will work together. It will include conditions to be met before the building is handed over, including the completion of repairs and readiness to be financially self-supporting. Cllr Robson, Conservative, Blatchcombe, said: “This is a major breakthrough in our work to secure a future for Oldway. “People are ready to talk and we have a clear plan to deliver this for the community. “The new trust can be set up relatively quickly and from the outset will be able to do things that the council can’t, for example recruit volunteers, fundraise, and organise events. “It will also be in a strong position to influence council decisions on Oldway in the lead up to the community taking charge.” The mansion will be open to the public on April 6 and 7 to launch the new trust. Visitors will be able to take guided tours of the main rooms and grand staircase. More events are planned for the summer. The mansion was commissioned by Isaac Singer, the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, but he died shortly before the it was completed in 1875. Oldway was remodelled by his son Paris early last century based on the Palace of Versailles in France. The interiors include an imperial staircase leading up to a ballroom on the east side and a gallery based on the hall of mirrors at Versailles on the west. The building was used as a hospital during the First World War and was bought by Torquay Borough Council in 1946. The 17 acres of grounds were opened as a public park and it was used as council offices until 2007 when the council announced its intention to sell the building as it had become too expensive to maintain. In 2012, plans for the building to be converted into a luxury hotel and sheltered retirement flats were approved by the council, but work never started. In 2016 a legal dispute between the developers and the council over the leases led to the end of development plans.