New group to discuss future of rundown Gainford Hall
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A CROSS section of residents from a dale village are being asked for their thoughts on what the future could hold for a landmark building.
Work is just about to begin on repairs to rundown Gainford Hall, on the outskirts of the village, which is owned by Raby Estates.
The hall is a grade I listed building and was constructed during the closing years of the reign of Elizabeth I, possibly about 1600, for Revd John Cradock, the village’s vicar at the time.
The four-storey stone building was never fully completed and its layout, two rooms deep, is considered cutting edge for early 17th century England.
However, Gainford Hall has not seen any major restoration work for more than 100 years and it is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register, highlighting the need for urgent maintenance.
Raby Estates officials say the hall’s removal from the at-risk register is a priority and some of the money raised from the landowner’s plans to build 79 houses in Gainford will fund its restoration.
In the meantime, a group has been convened to come up with ideas for the hall's future use.
Duncan Peake, chief executive of Raby Estates, said: “The estate recently formed a community stakeholder group, with representatives from the school, business, parish council and residents.
“That met for the first time in recent days and it will be important in fostering ideas for future uses for Gainford Hall and its farm buildings once the initial restoration is complete. We’re currently awaiting an expert report on how the building could be utilised in years to come and once the report is ready, then we look forward to discussing its ideas with the group.”
Mr Peake added: “We’re delighted progress is now being made to safeguard the future of Gainford Hall.
“Scaffolding is now being erected prior to start of restoration works to be undertaken by a specialist project team which we are currently recruiting for.
“The estate is currently seeking consent for various aspects of the project, including the installation of the bat box in the attic and for specialist work to the leaded windows. If all goes according to plan then we’d hope to complete the initial restoration work by the end of 2021.”