Friday, 24 June 2011

News - Council-owned mansion under hammer (Thorne Hall)

AUCTIONEERS behind the sale of a mansion which was last used as a council office and depot yesterday said they expected the property to fetch up to £400,000 when it goes under the hammer next month.

Grade II-listed Thorne Hall was built in 1818 for a local farmer and was a family residence but was eventually bought by the local council and used for meetings and administration.

The building, in Ellison Street, Thorne, near Doncaster, is now owned by Doncaster Council, which is selling the building to help it find money towards £71m in savings demanded by the Government.

Graham Johnston, of London-based Lambert Smith Hampton said the sale had been delayed after local MP Caroline Flint called for a re-examination of options for the site’s future.

But it has now been included in a catalogue for a sale on July 11 and a number of buyers have apparently shown an interest, with a viewing day planned at the landmark building for next Thursday.

Mr Johnston said: “A particular point of interest in the building is the ballroom, which has been used in the past for council meetings and there are other bits and pieces which are significant.

“Potentially we would expect buyers to perhaps be looking at using it as a hotel or perhaps a nursing home, and there have already been buyers contacting us to ask about it.”

Mr Johnston said other architectural features of note included a cantilevered stone staircase with iron balustrade and an entrance hall with a Doric columned screen.

Thorne Hall has been disused for several years, and a campaign, led by local councillors, has been mounted to bring the hall, which is opposite the town’s park, back into community use.

Coun Martin Williams, who represents the town on Doncaster Council said he was pleased to see the sale finally going ahead, and added he was “fed up” with other building in the town being left to rot.

He added: “I have got Tim Leader, a planning barrister who is the former chief executive of Doncaster Council, looking at the way the council has handled empty buildings in the town.

“If nothing is done about some of them, particularly those around the market place, I am going to take the authority to judicial review over the way they have let some of this town go to rack and ruin.”

Earlier this year, Lambert Smith Hampton auctioned two other buildings for Doncaster Council, including a house known as the Priory in Conisbrough and a listed school building in Arksey.

The Grade II-listed Consibrough property fetched £312,000 at the sale held in February, while the school building was bought for £155,000.

The Thorne Hall auction will take place on July 11 in London. For more details about the sale contact Lambert Smith Hampton on 020 7198 2278

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