In 1996 and 1998 we were represented at two public inquiries in Liverpool, at which government-appointed Planning Inspectors listened to the arguments for and against the demolition of Sandown Hall, Wavertree. We argued strongly in favour of saving the building, and successfully persuaded the first inspector to refuse listed building consent for demolition. But by the time of the second public inquiry the Hall had been extensively damaged by fire, and the inspector concluded that the building had no viable future.

Then in 2001, after demolition had taken place, we learned that all the sandstone blocks and bricks had been salvaged by a private purchaser and - shrink wrapped and numbered, like a giant construction kit - were in storage at a location on the outskirts of Warrington. In Newsletter 145 (April 2003) we reported on the plans of Cheshire businessman David Stagg to rebuild the Hall - and to re-create its landscaped grounds - on a site at Nether Alderley near Macclesfield.

Now we hear that planning permission for this development has been refused by Macclesfield Borough Council, owing to the site's location within the Green Belt. But Mr Stagg has lodged an appeal, and a public inquiry will be held (in Macclesfield) on 26th October to determine the matter. Once again a government Inspector will hear the arguments for and against, and will decide whether the special circumstances justify a relaxation of Green Belt policy.

Meanwhile, the parts of the building which were used to construct a 'votive column' off Long Lane - subsequently removed owing to vandalism and anti-social behaviour - have been reunited with the other salvaged building materials, for incorporation into the 'new' Sandown Hall.

Above: An extract from the Proposed Estate Plan, showing the rebuilt Sandown Hall in relation to its outbuildings, new walled garden and woodland shelter belts on the Nether Alderley site. Illustration supplied by Barnes Walker, landscape architects. We hope to publish further details of the scheme on the special SANDOWN HALL section of our website in the near future.

Our Committee member Mike Chitty has agreed to give evidence at the Inquiry, explaining why we felt Sandown Hall was so important and why we would now like to see it rebuilt - even 40 miles away from Wavertree. Mr Stagg has asked whether any other members of the Society, with personal memories of the Hall as it once was, would be willing to speak - or to submit a written statement.

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