THE owner of a 17th century mansion near Ripon has been elected to lead a body which represents 1,500 of the UK’s top tourist attractions.

Richard Compton, whose family have lived at Newby Hall, at Skelton-on-Ure, since 1748, has been appointed president of the Historic Houses Association. He said he would concentrate on highlighting the contribution his members’ properties played in drawing tourists to the country.

The HHA has called on the Government to support its members after imposing full VAT to alterations to listed buildings in this year’s Budget.