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  Tonge Hall Rescue Plan : Article published in the Middleton Guardian, 11th December 2008.

Bid for Tonge Hall bail-out

by Paul Harvey


Tonge Hall, pictured after being severely damaged by fire.








COUNCIL leaders are nervously awaiting a decision on a funding application for fire-ravaged Middleton landmark Tonge Hall.

Meanwhile, Middleton Township has agreed to donate 15,000 towards any shortfall in funding.

The council is waiting to hear if they will receive grant funding for a restoration scheme from English Heritage.

Mark Robinson, development control manager at Rochdale Borough Council said: "Rochdale Borough Council has appointed a historic building surveyor who estimated repairs to secure and weather proof Grade Two listed Tonge Hall to be approximately 200,000. This work would stabilise and secure the building whilst a viable use can be found.

"We then applied to English Heritage for grant funding of a scheme to either stabilise the structure or carry out some repairs to prevent its further deterioration."

"The council has applied for the maximum funding available and is awaiting a decision from English Heritage. If funding is secured the council would appoint a conservation specialist to look at the proposed work in more detail and then appoint a contractor to carry out the work under an Urgent Works Notice. The costs would then be claimed back against the value of the building."

Mr Robinson added: "We are unable to progress further until we know how much English Heritage will contribute towards the scheme, although we remain committed to the restoration of this historic building, which is in the top 14 per cent of those listed nationally."

Councillor Peter Williams, chairman of Middleton Township said: "Middleton Township have considered a report exploring funding opportunities to support this project and agreed to contribute 15,000 from within our budget towards any shortfall of money from English Heritage."

The magnificent Tudor building was badly damaged in an arson attack last June. Forty firefighters battled to get the blaze under control at the time which left the historic building badly damaged.

Since then the building has remained boarded up, leaving its future in doubt.