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Demolition men move in on Greaves Hall
19 August 2009
The historic Greaves Hall manor house is being demolished because it is too dangerous.

Although planning consent for the demolition of the Grade II listed former mental hospital expired last month, West Lancs Borough Council has asked the owners, WS Lamm Investments, based in Gibraltar, to have it torn down because it is unsafe.

And plans are in the pipeline for a development on the site in Banks.

"A few weeks ago a fair amount of the roof fell in.  Really and truly it needs to come down," North Meols Councillor David Vickers said.

"Some people in the village have decided they want to save it, but I think the time to try and save it was 15 years ago.  I have only lived here six years but from what I have heard it was a fabulous building."

Demolition work began at the weekend on the mock-Tudor hall on Greaves Hall Avenue, and is expected to take around a month to complete.

"The owners received a request from the local authority to demolish the building because of the condition.  It has deteriorated recently and got gradually worse, so they have taken the view this needs to be done," said Michael Cunningham, planning consultant from the owners' agents Cunningham Planning.

"Plans for it to be developed are currently in the process of preparation and will be revealed relatively soon."

An ecology expert has visited the site to ensure the hall's brown long-eared bat population is not harmed.

The hall was built in 1900 and closed its doors in 1992. 

Many local residents are sad to see the iconic building go, but others believe it was a danger to children who used it as a playground.

One Banks resident told The Champion: "Yesterday we found out that it is being demolished and no one knew anything about it and we feel that we should have been informed and possibly had a say in the outcome of this building as its been here for such a long time."

As well as its most famous use as a mental hospital, Greaves Hall has also been a private residence, private girls' school, and a children's and geriatric hospital.

A Blackpool housing firm requested planning consent to build houses and offices on the site 18 months ago, but has since backed out.

By Natasha Robson


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