17th century hall saved

Photo Ian Robinson'Bank Hall at Bretherton'Susan Williams chairman of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, Janet Edwards chairman of Bank Hall Action Group and and Lorraine Fullbrook MP
Photo Ian Robinson'Bank Hall at Bretherton'Susan Williams chairman of Heritage Lottery Fund North West, Janet Edwards chairman of Bank Hall Action Group and and Lorraine Fullbrook MP

Campaigners were this week celebrating news that a Chorley landmark will be saved.

A £1.6m cash injection by the Heritage Lottery Fund will save the historic the grade 2* listed Bank Hall in Bretherton. It spells an end to a 16-year battle by residents and activists to save the 17th century building, which has been left crumbling.

Janet Edwards, chair of the Bank Hall Action Group, said: “It’s hard to believe after so long something will truly happen.

“We care about this building passionately and it has taken people like me who are slightly mad to keep pushing. But you have to.

“It takes a lot of time and energy and a lot of us have been involved for 16 years.

“Now we’re at this stage, we can hardly believe it.”

The Heritage Trust North West will be working with Manchester-based development partner Urban Splash and the action group to restore the building to its former glory.

Janet said: “This money is crucial to making the project work, and we’re very, very pleased.

“The long-term aim is to restore the whole building.

“The Heritage Trust for the North West will be responsible for drawing the money down from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the restoration of the whole of Bank Hall is one of the first things that will be started.

“If we hadn’t succeeded I dread to think what would have happened to the building. It would have been a diaster.

“(Restoring it) is a complicated process but it means that everything can be kick-started.

“Most people are captivated by the building. The building itself is in a poor state of repair but the walls are sound.”

It is hoped restoration work can start by the end of the year.

Throughout the project, the entrance hall and Prospect Tower will be opened up to the public access and displays and information boards will be put up.

South Ribble MP Lorraine Fullbrook joined campaigners and representatives from the Heritage Lottery Fund to celebrate the news.

She said: “I know the local community will be as delighted as me that it is to be restored to its former glory.”

Bank Hall was made famous as the runner-up in the North West heat of BBC Two ‘Restoration’ programme.

Over the last few years stabilisation work has been carried out to protect the walls from damage and collapse. This has involved erecting scaffolding at the front.