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Walton Hall and Gardens SOLD

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There is no magic pot of money that WBC will uncover if we complain loudly enough.

 

No, but there is a huge pot of money they take out of my bank account each and every month.

 

There must be lots and lots of that left over once they've emptied my bin (or, more usually, not) every few weeks and failed to grit the roads all winter.

 

Finances are always "finite", you can say that about any individual or any organisation. Spending is about priorities, and a local councils duty to maintain public amenity facilities and spaces ranks pretty highly with me.

 

If they want to sell off a nice building for conversion into a boutique hotel, why not the town hall? It's used by fewer people and produces less of any real value.

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If we could sell off the Town Hall along with its inhabitants, I'd certainly applaud the savings! :twisted:

 

Same bottom line though - there's a pot of money and when it's gone, it's gone, so if we want it spent on Walton Hall for people to wander about, then we have to decide which of the current services we don't need. Personally, I'd rather have libraries, schools, bus passes, affordable transport, blue bins, green bins and weekly refuse collections. All of which also provide jobs.

 

What I'd like most is WBC to be straight in their dealings though. If this lease has been negotiated in secret, prior to public consultation, without other bids or options given a chance, then Councillors have only themselves to blame if we think they are less than honest. And each of them would do well to remember that there are procedures for their removal if they fail in their one duty of representing the electorate's views.

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Oh for God's sake, don't bring religion in to it. :wink::)

 

Paul, as the councillor elected to represent the people of Walton and considering the seriousness of their concern over this issue don't you think that your contribution to this discussion could be somewhat more constructive than just flippant one-liners?

Joking may be funny in other threads on the forum but regarding this subject nobody is laughing.

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......Same bottom line though - there's a pot of money and when it's gone, it's gone, so if we want it spent on Walton Hall for people to wander about, then we have to decide which of the current services we don't need. Personally, I'd rather have libraries, schools, bus passes, affordable transport, blue bins, green bins and weekly refuse collections. All of which also provide jobs.

 

The council often use this type of reasoning to make excuses for off loading public amenities, they try to make people believe that retaining the amenity would mean the loss of another. Lymmparent, You do you not seem to think that there there is any possibility that Walton Hall could be self financing without private investment. I see no reason why it couldn't.

The full breakdown of costs for renovation, yearly maintenance etc are not available to us, why? because if we had this information we might see that self financing was indeed possible.

Gross exaggeration of renovation and maintenance costs is not at all unusal during attempts to justify sell off of public amenities. This tactic was used recently re Bewsey Old Hall.

 

This 'deal' is not merely to make the estate self financing it is to offload and to make a profit.

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Oh for God's sake, don't bring religion in to it. :wink::)

 

Paul, as the councillor elected to represent the people of Walton and considering the seriousness of their concern over this issue don't you think that your contribution to this discussion could be somewhat more constructive than just flippant one-liners?

Joking may be funny in other threads on the forum but regarding this subject nobody is laughing.

 

I actually smiled too at Pauls comment as I'm sure he knew exactly what I meant by it :wink:

 

Unfortunately Paul seems to be gettig all the flack because the real decision makers aren't brave enough to post on here or indeed come out with the truth via other means available. He is also getting a lot of flack for the useless briefing note that he uploaded for our informaton that was probably actually written by a numpty who is just following strict orders from above

 

Anyway does anyone know how much funding the council have ever applied for or been given to go towards the Hall, any other buildings and the grounds. For example lottery funding, english heritage funding, Wren funding etc etc etc etc.

 

There is a lot of money available for public spaces but once they are privately owned you can wave goodbye to any chance of that.

 

Aslo we do have to remember that the Hall itself is Grade II listed so it does have some protection with regards to any developement.

 

On the other hand the grounds and all the other building are not protected so anything could happen to those including demolition of building if they are in the way and of course rebuild into something different if needed

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Just a small point LP. Where do you think the council get the money from to do projects like Orford Park, Sankey Valley, Bank Park and Victoria Park? That doesn't come out of the "pot".

 

The truth is more likely to be that they have dismantled most of the Dept's that deal with this sort of issue, and so they just get shut under a smokescreen.

The gullible public tend to beieve the garbage that gets spouted from WBC as there will be at least one word that they can highlight saying that discussions are taking place.

I'm surprised obs hasn't given us chapter and verse with his experience of these matters

:shock:

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Aslo we do have to remember that the Hall itself is Grade II listed so it does have some protection with regards to any development.

 

On the other hand the grounds and all the other building are not protected so anything could happen to those including demolition of building if they are in the way and of course rebuild into something different if needed

 

It has a lot of protection (which extends to buildings within the curtilage of the listed building - "curtilage" being a lawyers' paradise).

 

First question may be whether the proposals are in accord with the Unitary Development Plan. If not, "In cases where the development is not in accordance with the development plan, and the authority does not propose to refuse it, the authority must notify the DCLG for (amongst other things):

development of land belonging to a planning authority by that planning authority or any other party; or, for the development of any land by such an authority, whether alone orjointly with any person"

 

There are various policies in the Plan which might be offended by this proposal, not least

 

BH1 CHANGES OF USE OF LISTED BUILDINGS

The Council will permit changes of use of listed buildings only where all of the following provisions are met:

 

1. if it is not the original use for which the building was designed, the proposed use can be shown to be the optimum viable use compatible with the proper long-term preservation and upkeep of the listed building;

2. sufficient information is provided to demonstrate that the proposed use can be accommodated without the need for adaptation, alteration, demolition, or extension that would result in a loss of architectural or historic character, whether internally or externally;

3. the proposed use will not lead to a deterioration in the setting of the building by way of damaging alterations to surrounding paved or landscaped areas, curtilage buildings, walls, gates, driveways or other important features

 

In terms of the subdivision needed to make bedrooms out of the large rooms, that depends whether it counts as "substantial harm" to the heritage asset's significance (it would if it were Grade 1 or 2*), or merely "harmful impact" where the LPA must weigh the public benefit of the proposal against the harm and recognise that the greater the harm the greater the justification required. If it's "substantial harm", proposals should be rejected unless they deliver substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss, or (all of these to be satisfied) the nature of the asset prevents all reasonable use of the site and no viable use can be found for the heritage asset and grant aid, charitable or public ownership is not possible and the harm or loss is outweighed by the benefits of bringing the site back into use.

 

The Council report says, "We have followed appropriate formal procurement processes and discussed opportunities with a number of businesses and interested parties". Whether that's sufficient (compared to open marketing) is arguable. The key may well be whether subdivision of large rooms would be "substantial harm", so English Heritage's view may be crucial.

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It has a lot of protection (which extends to buildings within the curtilage of the listed building - "curtilage" being a lawyers' paradise).

 

Curtilage listing is a bit of a minefield and open to various interpretations but like you say it 'may' offer some protection as all the other buildings were build before 1948 and were originally used as part of the main hall and estate.

 

However they could get round it because at the date of listing some of the ancilary buildings were walled/fenced off from the rest of the estate so it could be concluded that they have a seperate curtilage :wink:

Another way often used apparently is to say that it was the secretary of states intention to exclude these curtilage buildings from listing otherwise he/she would have specifically included them in the listing status of the Hall.

 

I've often wondered why only the Main Hall, the Retaining Wall near the bowling greens and the Old School House and Schoolmasters House (as you go over the bridge) have individual Grade II listing status....

 

..... seems such a shame that the whole estate wasn't listed in its entirity as the heritage yard and other old building all form part of what makes Waton Gardens so impressive.

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"If we have a choice between ?20M income to the area from the lease, plus a refurbishment and development programme that will save the Hall OR WBC sitting tight and Hall and park left to rot, which are we going to pick? In the absence of other funding, that's our choice and there's no point shouting unless we are going to come up with another option."

 

WBC have gone out to tender for a solution that is self financing. That restricts a whole lot of viable options that can help help to reduce the expenditure simply because they are not self financing. This is the wrong starting point. You seem to miss the point that WBC has come up with only ONE solution - that is to sell off (125 year lease is selling off no matter which way you look at it), a substantial amount of public parkland. When the pubic are finally officially informed there will be no time left for anyone to come in with an alternative option.

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"Like them or not, our Councillors have to make a choice between the options available to them."

 

But why is only one option being presented, which is a sale of a substantial part of the gardens and parkland. WBC aren't presneting our councilllors with any other option because they want this fantastic public amenity to be self financing. THEY WBC want it to be self financing - not the public who pay the taxes an expect public amenities to be provided in return. If every public amenity had to be self financing you would have no parks, no libraries - and this isn't just any park, its one of the best in the North West, and WBC want to sell most of it off - its a one way street and it will be lost to the public for ever.

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post deleted by dissy .. as somehow my curtilage post appeared twice as seperate postings... no Idea how that happened.. sorry :?

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On the other hand the grounds and all the other building are not protected so anything could happen to those including demolition of building if they are in the way and of course rebuild into something different if needed

 

Not so,take a look here-

http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/Details/Default.aspx?id=59000&mode=quick

 

Sorry Byrdy didn't see your post as I must have been typing. You are right about the wall being grade II listed and I did mention it in my post that appears after yours along with the two houses near the bridge. I was refering to all the other buildings such as the ones next to the hall (although they many be part of the Hall not sure and also old stables, heritage yard, buildings where the bike museum is and greenhouse are etc etc

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2. Improved golf facilities through the creation of an Academy.

Unbelievable. I can only assume that the ongoing farce, masquerading as a golf course, is down to the entire council not having a single golfer in their ranks? Would that be the case Paul?

 

WH does not need an academy, it needs a greenkeeper, instead of grass cutters as it is now.

 

Underneath the terrible maintenance is a great course waiting to get out, which if kept up to standard would be a massive earner for the council.

 

There is no need for an academy, we already have Drivetime in the town centre, TFG at Fddlers Ferry, Croft driving rangte, and the fabulous short game centre at Poulton Park.

 

 

Walton Hall needs proper maintenance, and a pro who can be bothered to try to look after the paying public. Get those right and it will pay for itself and some.

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Fatshaft wrote:-

"WH does not need an academy, it needs a greenkeeper, instead of grass cutters as it is now.

 

Underneath the terrible maintenance is a great course waiting to get out, which if kept up to standard would be a massive earner for the council."

 

I totally disagree. I play the course at least once a week and, considering it is a municipal course, it is very well maintained. The gound staff work very hard to keep it in good condition. I have played ther in some awful conditions, during the recent winter and saw the ground staff working on both drainage and green care. My most recent game was last Wednesday and the course was in great condition and the greens cut well. I sincerely hope, with all this talk of the question of future public access to Walton Hall, that this course remains open to all !!!

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"WH does not need an academy, it needs a greenkeeper, instead of grass cutters as it is now.

 

Underneath the terrible maintenance is a great course waiting to get out, which if kept up to standard would be a massive earner for the council."

 

I totally disagree. I play the course at least once a week and, considering it is a municipal course, it is very well maintained. The gound staff work very hard to keep it in good condition. I have played ther in some awful conditions, during the recent winter and saw the ground staff working on both drainage and green care. My most recent game was last Wednesday and the course was in great condition and the greens cut well. I sincerely hope, with all this talk of the question of future public access to Walton Hall, that this course remains open to all !!!

 

I admit to being astonished if this is actually the case Victor, the fact you precede your praise with "considering it is a municipal course" speaks volumes. It should make no difference whatsoever, plus there is no season ticket, and the prices are not particularly cheap, so they hardly act like it's a municipal.

 

I left the club at the start of last year, I'd given it four years, always hoping that it would come back, or even be kept in the state it was for Festival week every year, that showed they could get it right if they tried.

 

But then for the Sept 08 festival, the course was a disgrace, and was I believe the last time I played there. I always liked to play late for that, around the time the visitors tended to play, and there were around 20 hanging around the bar when I came in. There wasn't a good word to say about the place from any of them, and this after the money spent rebuilding the greens the previous winter. You'd think someone on the council would have had the gumption to get it right for that weekend, but instead of a load of visitors going back to their clubs spreading the word about how good the course now was, they all went away with the message "avoid!"

 

I turned up ready to pay my fees at the end of March, had a chat with a few of the lads, and just realised I had had enough, I'd complained to the council, complained to the useless excuse for a professional, all to fall on deaf ears, and I wasn't going to have my enjoyment of the game ruined anymore by playing on that ploughed field.

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I've never played Golf but my dad, many of his friends and my neighbour all play at Walton regularly and have done for years.

 

Never heard any of them complaining about it and surely they wouldn't all keep going back time if it's as bad as you are making out Fatshaft :?

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I've never played Golf but my dad, many of his friends and my neighbour all play at Walton regularly and have done for years.

 

Never heard any of them complaining about it and surely they wouldn't all keep going back time if it's as bad as you are making out Fatshaft :?

I demanded - and eventually got - a refund one Sunday morning after heading out paying full price, to find 6 winter greens in operation in addition to the usual shocking state of the course (this was the end of May - not what you'd call winter eh?).

 

I came in livid, there is meant to be a 6 greens rule, whereby fees are dropped - of course anywhere else, as soon as one temp green is in play fees drop, but not at money grabbing, couldn't give a stuff Walton - anyway, the pro tried to deny there were 6, we were told 'only' five. Well whoopdeeflippindoo, even if it was "only" five, it should be dropped, anyway there wasn't. She then proceeded to tell me that (like you) no-one else was complaining!

 

I asked her if she ever went upstairs ever, becasue every week to a man, the entire membership complained about the state of the course. She said if that was the case, they could also have refunds. I informed all the lads upstairs, who were as usual complaining about the course.

 

You know how many other refunds were issued that day? None, zero, absolutely nil. They would all complain privately, but didn't want to make a scene, so of course, the council goes on taking the mick.

 

What handicap is your dad off. Or are they once a week casual golfers who will put up with anything, and never play anywhere else? I find it completely unbelievable that they never complain about the standard of the course, when the club had an annual battle with the council about it.

 

One year, they finally managed to get three councillors down who were in charge of parks and gardens, the captain and sec met them, and the captain proceeded to tell them what the issues were and what they would look at. "Right, we'll head down to the first tee and start from there". "Can I just stop you there" says the dear councillor "what's a tee?" - True story, and sums up why the place is so neglected.

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Just to put the record straight on earlier posts. Walton Hall Estate was not 'donated by a benefactor' or 'Greenall family handed over to Council' (Inky Pete and Dizzy) Actually purchased by WBC circa 1941 for around ?25k - hall, parkland and several cottages. May sound like a gift at that price but WW2 was not going too well at the time and there was no real guide on land/property values in '41. Most of Lord Daresbury's tenant farmers were able to buy at auction for around ?10k for a 150 acre dairy/arable holding (average size hereabouts in those days).

I recall the public opening of the Gardens in 1945 and the first 9 holes of the golf in 1970. Unfortunately, I also remember only too well the year on year lack of maintenace to the Hall and the Glasshouses for which I blame the ineptitude and negligence of Councillors - sorry to introduce 'politics' at this particulat time but it was a well known fact that the Greenall heritage of capitalism and Tory Town MP rankled our Labour controlled Councils. All very well to suggest Grade 2 listing as protection for the Hall but demolition of some 50% of the fine original building by the 1970s (riddled with dry rot and beyond recall) and closure of the detetiorated and dangerous glasshouses illustrates my point over major neglect. One of the park garedeners used to keep some bantem hens in one of the former bedrooms - which he described as "my little birds in the green room".

 

A little piece of history which WBC may have inherited for 'free' was the Daresbury family 19th Century Coach (I think it was built by a well known London coach firm). It was last painted in the black and gold family colours of Francis Lady Daresbury but allowed to rot away in an outbuiding until rescued by the Richardson family from Gawsworth who paid for full restoration in exchange for being on permanent loan to Richardsons (sounds a familiar WBC idea!!)who used to have a display of horse coach transport at Gawsworth but it was closed down when I was last there. Anyone know present whereabouts of the Daresbury coach ?? remenber it being used in Silver Jubilee and a Warrington Festival Parades (and maybe a Town Walking Day) - 1977/1980 ?? Don't think the properties by the canal bridge entrance to the Gardens were ever a school - the village school, built by the Greenalls, was on the Runcorn Road going out of the village, near the traffic lights and has been a private residence for some 40 years.

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I did know that the council paid for it by way but it was sold by Greenalls with the specific intention that it would always be used as an open public park.. for us all to enjoy :wink: So same difference really :wink:

 

As for the rest of your post... fascinating and very interesting to read although sad in parts too with so much of it falling into disrepair due to neglect. I never knew about the old coarch and wonder if anyone has a picture of it as I'd love to see what it was like.

 

Didn't know about the old school on Runcorn Road either...

but the listings for the two houses near the entrance to WG do say there were formerly a bridge Schoolhouse and Schoolmaster's House)

 

http://www.imagesofengland.org.uk/Details/Default.aspx?id=59001&mode=quick

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Facebook is for people with no 'real' friends :lol:

 

Thanks for the link Byrdy I had a look at it ealier.. should be interesting to follow especially when they start uploading any more info as and when it starts to come out :wink:

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