New hope for future of neglected Wigan landmark

Hope is on the horizon for an historic Wigan landmark which has been left to fall into rack and ruin for almost two decades.

Friday, 18th October 2019, 1:26 pm
Winstanley Hall

Grade II listed Winstanley Hall, which lies on the edge of Winstanley Park, has been the subject of campaigners’ interests for years as many are concerned it will become too dilapidated to save.

Other news: Former Wigan coach boss in court over fatal bus crushSince 2000, when it was bought by Dorbcrest Homes along with 10 acres of land from the Banks family, the 500-year-old building has lain derelict with no signs of any work beginning.

Over the past 30 years, since before the building was purchased, numerous planning applications have been put in to renovate the site with one - plans to build a nursing home - even being approved in 1988.

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However, despite this there has been no movement and no sign of any work beginning.

But now, thanks to the involvement of Wigan Council and Historic England, talks are being held over “proposals” to restore the site to its former glory.

Although no details have yet been confirmed, Historic England has revealed that repair works have recently been discussed with the owners.

A spokesperson said: “Winstanley Hall has been on our Heritage at Risk Register for some time due to various issues including dry rot and a leaking roof.

“We are encouraged by proposals to repair the building and will work with the developers and Wigan Council to bring about the sustainable reuse of the building.”

It has been widely reported that Dorbcrest homes initially bought the site with the intention of turning it into flats and in 2003 an application was submitted to Wigan Council to repair, refurbish and convert the building into residential units.

However, the plans were withdrawn before a decision was ever made.

A campaign group “Save Winstanley Hall” was set up by concerned local residents, students and historians who are concerned that if action is not taken soon the building will have to be demolished.

Dorbcrest have remained tight-lipped over any future plans and have ignored requests for a comment by the Wigan Observer.

However Wigan Council has said it is working with them to secure a future for the building.

A Wigan Council spokesperson said: “We have met with Dorbcrest Homes and Historic England to discuss developments for the future and continuously look to engage in discussions which seek to bring back the site into beneficial use as we are aware of its importance within the community.

“We are in the process of scheduling a further meeting with Dorbcrest to identify their aspirations for the site as owners of the hall.”