Removal begins as deadline day looms at Haigh

A removal van outside Haigh Hall last week. Residents also say items have been removed from the venue ahead of the termination of Contessa Hotels lease on November 22.
A removal van outside Haigh Hall last week. Residents also say items have been removed from the venue ahead of the termination of Contessa Hotels lease on November 22.

It appears to be all change at Haigh Hall after Wigan Council confirmed the hotel firm running the landmark must be out by the end of next week.

The town hall said the eviction notice given to Contessa Hotels for the grade-II listed venue is dated November 22.

That came after an intense flurry of activity at the historic building sparked a wave of public interest.

Removal vans were spotted at Haigh last week along with items boxed up inside the ill-fated hotel.

Social media posts then said residents had seen other items, including beds and mattresses, being carted out of the getaway destination on Monday.

Contessa refused to comment on the goings-on and Wigan Council could only confirm the date it had given the unpopular company for leaving.

Campaign group the Friends of Haigh Hall Heritage and Open Access To All, which has been highlighted problems with Contessa’s running of the hotel for months, said the company’s apparent preparations for departure wwere good news but admitted the events at the hall were still shrouded in mystery.

The residents’ group was due to meet with Wigan Council on Friday and made it clear there would be a lot of questions about the hotel’s future on the agenda.

A spokesperson for the friends’ group said: “The honest answer is we don’t know what is happening.

“A member of the group saw plates and glasses going, somebody else not in our group saw beds and mattresses going and we’ve also seen banqueting tables outside but don’t know why.

“We have raised the matter and sent pictures, along with a copy of the inventory, to the council and Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles.

“We welcome the progress. Everything seems to be speeding up all of a sudden. When the notice was first served everything seemed to be going on as it was before the termination, but now something is happening.

“We will be asking questions. All we can do for now is monitor the situation and keep feeding back to the council for them to investigate.”

Wigan Council gave Contessa its marching orders in September, saying the firm failed to comply with the terms of the contract.

The company’s running of the hotel, which was supposed to be a boutique, upmarket destination, generated a stream of negative headlines, ranging from dire food hygiene ratings to rows with the public over access to the grounds to the fire service temporarily banning sleeping on the upper floors for safety reasons.