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.

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Catch up with the campaign

Come and find out what has been going on in the Hough End Hall campaign at the Chorlton Big Green Happening on Saturday April 26th. Come and talk to us and hear about the grant  application we have made, our plans for crowdfunding, and what happened when we met the owners of the Hall.

good news – the nomination of the community asset is going ahead

We have nominated Hough End Hall to be put on the register of Community Assets. We have just heard that Manchester City Council considers the nomination valid. Thanks to the Chorlton Civic Society for making the nomination. Now there is an 8 week decision making, period.  This is an important step: if the Hall eventually gets put on the Register, there will be a 6 month moratorium during which the owners of the Hall cannot sell it to anyone else whilst the community prepoares a bid. So, watch this space for more news.