Concern over future of historic Cuerden Hall and ancient woodland
Residents living near Sue Ryder’s Cuerden Hall site are worried about the historic building’s future now it is up for sale.
The charity is opening a state-of-the-art specialist neurological care centre in Fulwood, and its home for the past 30 years in Shady Lane, Bamber Bridge, is being marketed for commercial use.
Concerns surround potential unsympathetic development, struggles to find a buyer due to the nature of the building and its Grade II-listed status, and the ancient woodland belonging to the Hall.
Local Parish Councillor Sarah Elsy said: “The community want a greater say in the future of the hall, it’s an important part of the local heritage.
“There is a worry that anybody who takes it on will have to have deep pockets because it’s a listed building and English Heritage have very strict rules about what can be done.
“What we don’t want to happen is that it is left to go to rack and ruin and attracts arsonists and just dissolves.”
She added: “There is also ancient woodland belonging to the Hall. The local community would like Sue Ryder to consider donating this to the Cuerden Valley Park Trust in order to preserve it for the future and for public use.
“We’re keen that the council keep an eye on developments here and keep us posted.”
The Hall was formerly a family home between 1717 and 1906. It was taken over by Sue Ryder in 1986 as a residential care facility.
Pamela Mackenzie, Executive Director of Neurological Services at Sue Ryder, said: "At Sue Ryder we pride ourselves in providing expert and compassionate care for the people we support.
"In November 2018, we announced our decision to close the current service at Cuerden Hall and our plans to open a new purpose-built facility in Fulwood.
"Cuerden Hall has served us well for many years, but it has become more and more apparent that the building is not fit for purpose. Parts of the building are not accessible for people with complex neurological conditions and as a listed building we are unable to make the necessary adaptations.
"Once Cuerden Hall is closed, the building will be boarded up in accordance with government guidelines prior to sale. In addition, vehicle access to the site will be restricted and we will also be installing CCTV and regular security patrols to ensure its safe-keeping until we have a buyer.
“All potential buyers will be aware of the listing of the property and the surrounding woodlands and grounds.
"The opening of the Sue Ryder Neurological Care Centre Lancashire is a really exciting move for us. The purpose-built centre will provide so many more positive opportunities for current and future residents with facilities including a hydrotherapy pool and dedicated rehabilitation kitchen."
Chorley Council were unavailable for comment.