Residents are objecting to the sale of a National Trust building that has been put up to be leased for use as a private residence.

Bellister Castle, which sits along the A69 outside Haltwhistle, has been listed for lease by the National Trust, sparking objections from residents in Haltwhistle and the surrounding area.

If somebody takes up the lease, the land and the buildings will be theirs for 125 years to be used as a private residence.   

A resident from Haltwhistle wrote to the National Trust to object to this historic building being put up for lease.

In the objection, the person wrote: “The Trust has literally nothing open to visitors in the whole of north Cumbria or the rest of the Border, despite its long and complex history.

“There is a huge white area on the Trust’s map across a swathe of northern England, in stark contrast to other parts of the country.”

They instead urge the National Trust to open up Bellister Castle to the public so that the region’s long history can be celebrated by tourists and residents alike.

Bellister Castle dates back to the 1400s and over the years it was expanded to become the three-storey castle that it is today.

Bellister Castle is a National Trust owned castellated 19th-century mansion house attached to the ruinous remains of a 14th-century tower house, near Haltwhistle. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.

Rumours have flown that it is haunted by the ghost of a musician who died on the land hundreds of years ago.

It is this rich history that has led to residents seeking to have the property opened to the public.

A spokesperson for the National Trust said: “The National Trust is offering a 125 year lease for Bellister Castle and Lodge as a private, seven-bedroom residence. The Castle has been a leased residence for over 35 years, after careful consideration of the property’s viable uses.

“Bellister Castle was gifted to the National Trust in 1976, and while the ruins are of a medieval castle, the home itself was converted into a mock-Gothic house by architect John Dobson in the 1830s.

“The scheduled ancient monument is not included in the lease and this important site remains in the care of the Trust.

“The woodland footpaths surrounding Bellister remain publicly accessible.”