Save Harehill House
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|Introduction to Hare Hill House|
|Rochdale Council have indicated that they intend to relocate the services
currently provided at Hare Hill House. The House would then become surplus to
requirements. MoorEnd Development Trust recognises that Hare Hill House is
valued by the local community and is an important building in both the evolving
history of Littleborough and in the setting of Hare Hill Park. The Trust is
therefore exploring the possibility of taking ownership of the building and
using it for a variety of commercial and community uses.|
The Trust has established a Project Group, which includes representatives from the Friends of Hare Hill Park, Rochdale Council and Greater Manchester Council for Voluntary Organisations. To date the Trust has commissioned a Structural Survey undertaken by Gettins Hogben Melia and a Feasibility Study undertaken by Camberwell.
The Structural survey indicated that whilst the building was structurally sound it was in need of extensive repairs.
The Feasibility Study was commissioned in June 2009 to explore the possible uses that the Project Group had identified and establish whether they were viable. Camberwell completed an extensive study for the Trust in September 2009 which indicated that a scheme was potentially viable, but would be dependent upon Rochdale Council agreeing to transfer the asset to the Trust and the Trust being able to access grant aid towards the substantial costs of repair, refurbishment and start up costs.
The scheme would create a conference/venue space in the present library and office/studio space together with a community meeting room and cafe in the old house.
Littleborough Civic Trust completed a conservation study of the house and library that identifies the important features that remain and should if at all possible be retained; and to make suggestions on how the refurbishment works could enhance the historic and architectural merit of the building.
The Trust submitted an application for financial assistance to the Community Builders Fund in November 2010. The application was considered at the February 2011 Panel meeting, the outcome of which was that further work was needed to confirm the assessment set out in our Business Plan.
The Trust employed an independent Financial Analyst to review the Business Plan, the outcome of which was that the Business Plan contained an error that turned an operating profit into a growing deficit. This combined with the fact that the change in the Community Builder’s potential financial assistance offer from a 60:40 (loan/grant) to an 80:20 split meant the proposal was no longer financially viable.
The Trust and the Hare Hill House Project Group have reviewed the position and are currently in the process of developing an alternative Business Plan that is based upon retaining the Library, using more volunteers to manage the premises and a phased approach to refurbishment.
Rochdale Council has requested that the Trust submit its proposals by the end of the current financial year, March 2012.