Friday, 8 July 2011

News - Hopes rise for hall revival (Ollerton)

An option to buy back Ollerton Hall is being considered by Newark and Sherwood District Council.

It is concerned about the state of the hall, which it sold in 2007, and the lack of progress being made on its redevelopment.

It was bought by Pullan Developments of Sheffield for £650,000 but the sale contained a clause for the council to buy it back.

The Press and public were excluded from a meeting of the council’s cabinet on Thursday when the matter was discussed.

In the public session, council leader Mr Tony Roberts said the hall would be reviewed sympathetically when it came to allocating any additional money received by the council.

After the meeting he said: “It is a matter that is receiving our closest attention at the moment.

“We are concerned about the lack of progress.”

The council’s chief executive, Mr Andrew Muter, said in a statement: “The council’s cabinet considered the state of Ollerton Hall and expressed its concern about the state of the building and the half-built extensions, which are an eyesore.

“The council will now take action that will resolve the current unsatisfactory state of Ollerton Hall including considering the options open to it under the original terms of the sale in 2007.”

The district council bought the 300-year-old listed building for £1 from the Sue Ryder Foundation in 2004 and later sold it to Pullen Developments.

The company started work on extensions at the hall in December 2007 and was fined £5,000 after admitting breaching an order to stop work on the site in December 2008.

Planning enforcement officers visited the site amid concerns that work was not in accordance with permission.

Residents were first told the hall would be turned into luxury apartments. The company later said it was being transformed into a care facility.

According to Companies House, Pullan Developments is not currently trading and its accounts are dormant.

When the Advertiser tried to contact its offices, the telephone was not answered.

A district councillor for Ollerton, Mr Ben Wells said: “I don’t care what happens as long as something happens.

“If that means buying it back then that is fine for me.

“What we are left with is a gross, horrible looking, part-finished monstrosity.

“What we need is somebody to return it to something like its former glory.”

The town’s county councillor, Mrs Stella Smedley, said: “Something needs to happen. The hall is one of our very few historical buildings and therefore of great archaeological importance to the area.

“If Newark and Sherwood District Council continue to see no progress, then they should buy it back.”

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