Haigh Hall future reviewed

Haigh Hall Wigan
Haigh Hall Wigan

THE future of Haigh Hall is under review.

The stately home at the heart of Wigan’s ‘jewel in the crown’ leisure facility is the subject of a Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust review about its long term future within the council.

It was feared that the authority - beset by the need for £66m budget reductions over the next three years because of Government cuts - had opened talks with a Wigan businessman exploring possible future options for future use of the hall.

It follows a successful deal to dispose of the town’s five leisure halls while keeping guarantees about community use.

But Red Rose Leisure, which now operates them, denies any interest in taking over the Grade Two listed Haigh Hall.

And council Director for the Economy Stephen Normington confirmed there was no truth in claims that the hall was about to be leased to another party.

He said: “The council and the Trust are in the process of examining the future options for Haigh Hall, which the council’s Environment, Economy and Culture Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet are aware of.

“Long-term options for Haigh Hall and the surrounding country park are being examined by a project team and innovative proposals are being considered.

“This includes finding solutions to the ongoing building maintenance issues. However at this stage there are no firm proposals on the table and we have not entered into agreements with anyone.

“Any decision about the future of Haigh Hall would have to be taken by the cabinet and council.”

Dating back to 1827 and formerly the ancestral home of the Earl of Crawford and Balcarres, Haigh Hall was gifted to the former Wigan Corporation by his descendents in lieu of unpaid rates just after the end of the Second World War.

It is a popular choice for wedding hire and celebrations because of its extensive choice of rooms and suites.

Although there has been a manor house on the site since the Middle Ages, the present hall was built between 1827 and 1840 by James Lindsay, 7th Earl of Balcarres, who designed and supervised the hall’s construction while living in a cottage in the grounds.

During the First and Second World Wars the hall was used to provide care for injured soldiers before David Lindsay, 11th Earl, sold the hall and grounds to Wigan Corporation in 1947 for £18,000.

The Lindsay family’s famous library- once contained a Gutenberg Bible, is now housed in a private collection in Texas.