Working together to rescue hall

The once magnificent Winstanley Hall
The once magnificent Winstanley Hall

Future plans for a listed Wigan building could soon be revealed after the town hall confirms it is making strides to save it from irreparable deterioration.

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 eventually become too dilapidated to save.

Wigan Council has this week confirmed that it is currently working with the relevant parties to help secure its long-term future.

Marie Bintley, assistant director for housing and growth, said: “The council is actively working with the building owners and Historic England to understand what is needed to conserve this historic asset and how this might be realised.”

The hall, which also includes a Grade II* listed stable block and a Grade II listed fountain and estate office, dates back to the 16th century (approximately 1595).

Over the centuries the building has undergone alterations and extensions, and in the early 19th century architect, Lewis Wyatt, redesigned the interior moving the entrance to the south west and designed the stable block.

The state of the building has been in “serious decline” for many years, since it became unoccupied in the early 1980s.

Last year, Wigan Council sent out a tender for a an architect to review the “Heritage Works Options Appraisal Study”, which was released way back in 2010.

Although details of any restoration plans are currently being kept under wraps, the contract- which was awarded in July 2016 outlines details of what is expected of the chosen contractor,

“The appraisal of each option shall include an assessment of repair costs, conversion costs and indicative end values for each option, leading to the identification of any financial gap,”

It states. “As part of the analysis, consideration should be given to different funding options (including enabling development), ownership models and planning considerations. An appraisal shall also be made of SAVE Britain’s Heritage strategy for the site produced in February 2012.”

The site has a controversial history, and in 2000, the hall as 10 acres surrounding it was bought by Dorbcrest Homes from the Bankes family, who had owned it for 400 years.

The housing firm proposed to demolished the site in 2011, but heritage group “Save” intervened and promised to carry out repair work on its behalf.

Local splinter group, Friends of Winstanley Hall, raised £250,000 in donations from English Heritage, the Country House Foundation, The Georgian Group and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.