Monday, 27 April 2009

Local Authority impotence

(Thanks to Mark Savage for the pic, from
Today's prats are West Lancashire District Council, and their victim is Greaves Hall at Banks near Southport, a Grade II listed house which, under the local authority's nose, has been allowed to deteriorate to the point at which they have become minded to compulsorily purchase it, for demolition, though they did grant consent for its conversion to flats a few years ago (following many, surprisingly well-maintained, years as a hospital )
Here's the list description:
SD32SE NORTH MEOLS GUINEA HALL LANE (East side), Banks 1759-/2/10001 Greaves Hall - II Country house, now disused hospital. Dated 1900. Timber framing with rendered nogging, brick plinth, plain tile roofs. Brick gable, ridge and side wall stacks, with octagonal coped flues, many of them multiple. Tudor Revival style, with multiple gables and patterned timber framing imitating the local vernacular. Windows are mainly casements with wooden mullions and cross mullions, and leaded glazing. 2 storeys plus attics; 16 windows. T-plan. Single range of exaggerated length, punctated by projecting gables, with parallel range at left end, and a substantial rear wing. Entrance front has in the centre 3 gables, stepped back from left to right. Left gable has full~width cross-mullioned windows on each floor. Other gables have smaller windows to each floor and to attics. To right, 5 windows, then a projecting double gable with cross mullioned windows. In the return angle, a gabled porch with double doors. To left of centre, 4 windows, then a projecting gable, then a single window. Right return has to left a large external stack. To right, a projecting rounded gable with a cross mullioned window on each floor. Rear elevation has to left a small central gable flanked by larger end gables, that to left with an external stack. To right, parallel range with regular fenestration and 3 dormers. Central rear wing, 2 storeys plus attics, has a jettied end gable with a full-height canted bay window, with brick ground floor and segment headed door. At the left corner, an octagonal brick stair tower with slit lights and crenellated parapet. Left return has 2 full-height canted bay windows under jettied gables, and 2 dormers. Right return has 2 external stacks and box dormers. Interior: entrance hall has four-centred arched ashlar doorcase with glazed double doors. Half~panelled hallway has elaborate open well wooden staircase and matching landings, with bulbous balusters and square newels. Plaster cross ribbed ceiling. Stair window has stained glass with coat of arms dated 1900. Ground floor spinal corridor has an elliptical arched opening with screen, doors and fanlight all with diamond glazing bars. Ante room with Renaissance Revival style wooden chimneypiece, with columns and segmental pediment. Panelled recess at opposite end. Rear wing contains a half-panelled hall, 2 storeys, with strapwork ceiling and span beams on heavy curved brackets. At the far end, a wooden gallery on square posts with mid C20 balustrade. Doorway under gallery, and four-centred arched window recess above. Remaining rooms have cornices, and some attic rooms have original fireplaces.
And here's the developers plan - which is an exercise in ignoring the "elephant in the room" as far as the listed building goes, beyond following the local council's lead in condemning it as having "no prospect of retention or conversion" - you'll note that the site plans show the building, but don't propose anything at all for its footprint:
The remainder of the site is being developed with new housing, but without an agreement over the repair (which ten years ago, wasn't needed) of the listed house. Congratulations to all concerned. You must be really pleased to be in the vanguard of "progress".


  1. Another fire victim I recall.

    Also on the SAVE Buildings at Risk Register, latest update:

    "Greaves Hall is a disused hospital dating from 1900 built in the Tudor Revival style. It was originally a country house. It's timber frames with rendered nogging. The building is located in Banks approximately 5kms north east of Southport. It is an area which is currently being re-developed for housing.

    The building has suffered from a number of years of neglect and has had two quite significant fires, one of which has resulted in part of the end bay being demolished. The Hall itself and its immediate, but rather limited, mature grounds still remain.

    The Hall has Planning permission, subject to a legal agreement still to be completed, for conversion into residential apartments together with the erection of a detached block of 12 new properties to the rear. In the wider context uncertainty remains over the development of land and former hospital buildings adjoining the site to the side and rear which are currently used by a number of small commercial units. The land remains
    allocated in the Local Plan for business uses. Other potential occupiers include business or institutional uses.


    Recent fires had compromised the stability of the old hospital and two wings had already had to be demolished, but now it looks like the end for this splendid building."

  2. I can only imagine the housing scheme proposed. There are so many instances of this all over the country - as the building deteriorates, so do the aspirations of the planning authority.
    The proposed masterplan is just banal.

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  4. The bulldozers have moved in