Bank Hall given restoration funding boost

Bank Hall Bank Hall in Bretherton has stood empty since 1962

A 17th Century hall in Lancashire is to receive £1.69m for a restoration project.

Bank Hall, in Bretherton, has been awarded the Heritage Lottery Fund money after a 16-year campaign to save it.

The building will be converted for residential use with the entrance hall and Prospect Tower opening up for public exhibitions and tours.

The Grade II-listed country house was built by the Bankes family in 1608 but has been empty since the 1960s.

Bank Hall Action Group Chairwoman Janet Edwards, who has been leading the campaign to save the building, said: "We are thrilled that we have the money and can proceed with the process.

"It is in a pretty perilous state. The external walls are sound but the fabric of the building has collapsed form the top downwards.

"This definitely is our lifeline that is desperately needed."

The hall was a runner up in the North West heat of the BBC Two Restoration programme in 2003, losing out to Victoria Baths in Manchester.

It was vacated in 1962 and has gradually fallen into disrepair. It is now in the highest risk category on English Heritage's Buildings at Risk register.

Hannah Barker from Heritage Lottery Fund in the North West said: "The last time I visited the building was just before Christmas and it really was on its last legs and I said 'this is the last chance for this building'.

"If we hadn't been able to sort something out and start work on the building this year I think it would have just collapsed into rubble.

"Its a beautiful historic building and its really important to the local community."

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