AMBITIOUS plans to bring one of Barnsley’s oldest buildings back into use following 50 years of neglect have received fresh support from an MP and conservation officers in Parliament.
Grade II-listed Grimethorpe Hall - which was built in 1670 for Robert Seaton and his wife Theodicia Adwick - has long been the subject of a series of failed bids to bring it back into use.
Stephanie Peacock, the MP for Barnsley East, recently met with Historic England in Parliament to discuss its future and plans for the world-renowned Grimethorpe Colliery Band to take it over as a base.
Ms Peacock has been campaigning alongside local residents to restore the hall to its former glory.
She said “I was pleased to meet with Historic England in Parliament recently to discuss the future of Grimethorpe Hall.
“The hall has the potential to be a great asset to the community and would be a brilliant base for the world-famous Grimethorpe Colliery Band.
“There are a number of issues to be resolved before progress on the future of the site can be made.
“However I know that there is support from the local community and I will continue to meet with the relevant bodies to try to facilitate repairs when possible.”
However, there have been issues with the rate of progress, chiefly due to an outstanding mortgage on the building.
The hall was escheated - which effectively means its ownership passes to the Crown when a company dissolves - but it is hoped that the MP’s support, Historic England’s acknowledgement of its importance and its Grade II listing will all go in its favour.
Stephanie added: “The hall dates back to the 1600s and it’s an important part of Barnsley’s history.
“The National Coal Board applied for permission to demolish the structure in 1981, however this was unsuccessful and the hall continues to stand in Grimethorpe today.
“This is a great piece of Barnsley’s history and it would be a great shame to lose it.”
A spokesperson from Save Britain’s Heritage - which backed growing calls for the hall to be brought back into use - confirmed it is on Historic England’s at-risk register.
They said: “The last few decades have not been kind to the building - first it was bought by the National Coal Board which applied for consent to demolish it.
“This was refused and Grimethorpe Hall was sold on - the next owner intended to turn it into a nursing home but this fell through and the hall was eventually sold, but only after it had been badly vandalised.
“The building was secured against the weather, but is again suffering from decay and vandalism.
“It has held numerous consents over the past few years, none of which have been acted on.
“There was a project involving a housing association with a view to selling the house but that went against local points of view.
“There was then permission for restaurant use but it appears that that became mired in detailed discussions and ultimately did not proceed.
“It is subject to escheat and therefore owned by the Crown after its previous owners became bankrupt.
“We understand it is subject to an outstanding mortgage - nothing can happen until this impasse is resolved.
“The Crown will sell to a purchaser and positively views community use or public ownership.
“What is needed is a viable scheme which takes advantage of this and which may persuade a bank or other creditor to negotiate in relation to the outstanding debt.”