High Court case involving Wigan's historic Haigh Hall goes into a third week

A High Court trial looking at the future of Haigh Hall is set to run into a third week.

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 12:30 pm
Haigh Hall

The case involving Wigan Council and hotel operators Skullindale Global Ltd, Craig Baker and Amir Madani was expected to finish yesterday, but will now resume on Wednesday.

It involves the conversion of the historic hall into a four-star hotel and wedding venue.

Council chiefs decided to use a break notice in the contract in September 2019 amid concerns about the work being carried out on the building and alleged breaches of planning permission.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

In his closing submissions yesterday, Martin Hutchings QC, representing the council, said: “We say that on May 23, 2018 there can be no doubt that the development was not complete in accordance with the obligation.

“Bedrooms were incomplete, there was a need for repairs to the windows, rainwater goods, doors and frames. Stonework and masonry was not completed and, of course, the roof works, the main entrance, the replacement of the stone urns and the like.

“That work had not been completed in accordance with the planning permission.”

He argued that although the hotel was functioning, work was incomplete, had not been done in accordance with the plans and it was in breach of statutory conditions.

Mr Hutchings QC disputed that all bedrooms in the hotel had been finished and questioned evidence given by Mr Baker that all 30 rooms were booked for a wedding in September 2019, saying there was “nothing to support it”.

He asked the court to treat all the evidence given by Mr Baker with “a significant degree of caution”, suggesting that at times he “simply wasn’t telling the truth”.

Appearing as a witness earlier in the week, Mr Baker claimed that several issues caused delays to work to transform the building, including contractors not being able to get there because of the number of people outside.

He said there were issues with the council, including having five different building control officers and incorrect signage being erected.

He also spoke about brides going to look at the hall as a potential wedding venue facing “abuse” as they made their way along the driveway.

Mr Baker said around £5m had been spent on the hall and 80 weddings were booked when the council used the break notice.

Proceeding.

Thanks for reading. If you value what we do and are able to support us, a digital subscription is just £1 for your first month. Try us today by clicking here