A packed meeting about the Hall

Yesterday, Saturday 28 March, we held a public meeting to update our supporters on the progress made by the campaign and the current position.  Some 40 people attended the meeting in the community room at Chorlton Library.IMG_20150328_143340

Carolyn Kagan, secretary of the Friends of Hough End Hall gives the latest news.

Here is a summary of what we said.

Progress of the Sale of the Hall

The Friends of Hough End Hall had to withdraw from the bidding process after being unsuccessful in the bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund. RBS, the Hall’s owner, then set a deadline for bids from other interested parties to be submitted.

Not long before the deadline we were contacted by an agent for a charitable foundation endowed by a prominent and well respected entrepreneur who wanted to submit a bid for the Hall, incorporating the community interests and working with the Friends of Hough End Hall.

We were obviously delighted with this and after some discussions and meetings agreed to be a part of this bid, which was duly submitted. Full details of how any partnership arrangements would work are still to be worked out but we can assure you we are approaching this with careful risk analyses – particularly as far as any financial commitments might be concerned!

RBS received and reviewed all the bids and decided in January to work with three bidders (of which ‘our’ charitable foundation was one) as they refined their bids, clarifying any conditions they had put alongside their offers.

The last we heard (just before our public meeting on March 28th) was that RBS was commissioning a full condition survey with any associated specialist surveys needed (such as timber surveys) to give to the prospective bidders, to help speed up the process.

For us, this is a little frustrating as we had reached this point last August, by which time we had already got a condition survey completed and had professional costings of the repairs and restoration needed for the Hall. Had RBS agreed to work with us without the messiness of other bidders, we could have been a lot further forward by now!

So… we still do not know what role we will have in the event of the Hall eventually being sold. We hope the charitable foundation will be successful and that we will be able to form a constrictive partnership for the future and ensure the Hall is made available for local people.

Read more in our Bulletin no. 10,  March 2015

There was a lot of interest at the meeting with people (including local politicians) keen that the Hall really does become an asset for all the community while preserving its heritage value.

The meeting also heard from Andrew Simpson and Peter Topping about the book they plan to publish in May.  It will be a history of the Hall, focussing not just on the wealthy people who built and owned the Hall, but also on the many people who have been part of its local community.

Thanks to everyone who turned out, giving us such a great show of community support for the efforts of the Friends of Hough End Hall.  Whatever happens with the sale of the Hall we will continue to work towards its preservation as a heritage and community asset.

Hough End Hall – Tell RBS the community needs it!

RBS logo via http://www.rbs.co.uk/corporate.ashxWe are now at a critical point in the campaign to make Hough End Hall ours. As you may know the Hall is currently owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), through its troubled subsidiary ‘West Register. While the Hall has been vacant for some two years, there is now pressure from the Treasury for RBS to get rid of its property portfolio (part of its “de-leveraging”). That means that when the moratorium on its sale ends on 25 November, they will want to sell the Hall as soon as possible.

Our problem is that our best chance of raising the money to buy the Hall is through a big grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. But although our meetings with them have been encouraging, it will take longer than this until they could agree the money. This is because of the considerable amount of work needed to demonstrate that our plans to run the Hall are water-tight, and the set dates that they work to for considering proposals and finally agreeing funding (in December, 2015).

We have spoken to the manager at West Register, who although sympathetic, has clear instructions from above to make a sale as soon as possible. What we need to do is get as many people as possible to make the case for giving us more time. Because RBS is owned by you and me – the State is the majority (81%) shareholder – this is a realistic thing to ask for and to expect, and the positive publicity would help RBS in restoring its reputation. Indeed, they could even give the building to the community, but we don’t expect that.

What you can do:

1) Sign our petition to Ross McEwan (Chief Executive of RBS), George Osborne (Chancellor of the Exchequer, and MP for nearby Tatton) and Vince Cable (Business Secretary).
It is will take you a few moments via this link.

2) Write to your MP (using this model MP letter: but please personalise it)  asking them to give their support to our request to give us more time and identify us as the preferred buyer. Put in your postcode after you click this link and you can email your MP directly (but again please don’t just send an unchanged model letter – Write to them will block it if you do).

3) Share this with your family, friends and colleagues – by word of mouth (best), email, facebook and twitter. You can also share the petition in this way.

Thanks for you help, it really will help us Make it Ours!

Also look out for our Crowdfunding appeal – coming very soon.

Hough End Hall Family Fun Day – Let’s Make it Ours! 21st Sept.

IMPORTANT UPDATE

We have had to cancel the fun day until the Spring.  –  Thanks for your interest and we’ll see you then.

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Hough End Hall Family Fun Day – Let’s Make it Ours!

How about putting it in your diary now?

Chorlton Park, 21st September, 2014, from 12 to 5.

 

Our new video about Hough End Hall and the campaign

Hough End Hall, Chorlton-cum-Hardy – Let’s make it ours!

This video gives you a general explanation of this project to bring Hough End Hall under comunity ownership and management as a resource for the people of Chorlton and South Manchester.  To donate to the project click this link. Our crowdfunding call will follow soon.

Published on 10 Jul 2014

The Friends of Hough End Hall, Chorlton-cum-Hardy are seeking to raise money to the tune of about £300,000 so that they can buy the Grade 2* listed Hough End Hall for the use of the South Manchester community.
In the film, Peter Topping, Carolyn Kagan and Andrew Simpson all talk about the hall, what it has been in the past and what it is hoped it will become in the future, as a place to meet, a place to eat, for art and education and as a social and recreational centre.
Friends of Hough End Hall is a not for profit company registration no 9096872.
Paintings and music by Peter Topping.
Film sponsored by Hardy Productions UK, filmed and presented in 4K (3840×2160 pixels).

To donate to the project click this link. Our crowdfunding call will follow soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Hough End Hall in Beech Rd Park – Sunday

Here’s a cheeky preview (thanks Peter):

Hough End Hall placed in the park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

… if a little small (maybe we’ll get a reduction on the price?), it does give an indication of how the Hall deserves better surroundings than the brutalist office blocks of the 1960s.
Anyway come on down on Sunday to the Beech Rd and Chorlton Green Fmly Fun Day, this Sunday (6th July, 2014) from 12-5 and find out more about where we are up to and how you can help.

We got listed!

We are thrilled to hear that the Council has made the decision to place Hough End Hall on the Register of Assets of Community Value. So, once the owners, (West Register, part of RBS) tell the council they are wanting to dispose of the land, and we confirm we want to bid, we should get 6 months during which they cannot conclude a sale to anyone else. The legislation lets them continue negotiating with someone else but not conclude a sale.

We will need to make sure we make a good bid!

Thanks to all who supported the nomination, especially Chorlton Civic Society.