New plans for houses are 'last chance' for historic buildings in St Helens

The building has fallen into disrepair
The building has fallen into disrepair
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A developer is appealing for support for plans to build homes on the site of two historic buildings, which he believes could be their "last chance for survival".


Oak Tree Developments has submitted a planning application to erect 23 properties on the site of two Grade II-listed buildings on Newton Park Drive, in Newton.

How the site could look

How the site could look

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Central to the plan is a pledge to restore a manor house, which was built in 1774, and a barn dating back to the 1600s. These will provide a further six apartments and four houses.

The listed buildings, which have been empty for decades and fallen into an advanced state of disrepair, have been described by Historic England as being “not only of local significance but of national importance”.

An online petition has been launched by the firm to gather support ahead of St Helens Council's planning committee making a decision on the application on June 14.

Oak Tree Developments says the scheme would see both listed buildings restored and incorporated into a wider development to provide housing.

The cost of the restoration would be covered by the revenue generated from the housing development.

Managing director David Lloyd said: “These historic buildings are in a very poor structural condition and this really is their last chance for survival."

He said nine buildings on the site had deteriorated so badly since a 2007 redevelopment plan was rejected that they had to be demolished.

Mr Lloyd continued: “No-one has subsequently come forward with any other proposals for the site and we are not aware of sufficient subsidy being available from either St Helens Council, Historic England or any other source. The buildings are in need of substantial investment, via what is known as enabling development, to secure their future. There is no realistic alternative solution.

“We are calling on local people to sign our petition and write to the council to support the planning application, which will not only deliver quality family housing for the local community but will preserve these fabulous buildings for generations to come.

"The alternative will inevitably be to see the buildings deteriorate beyond repair, as no other plans have emerged to save them in the last 12 years and time really is running out.”

Previous land owner Bill Atkinson said: “It really is the last chance for these buildings. I have spent over £100,000 trying to shore up the structures with scaffolding and put security on the site to protect it from fly-tippers and trespassers but this cost cannot continue without the enabling development and if it is not granted, this would certainly be the end for the buildings."

The petition supporting the planning application can be found at you.38degrees.org.uk/p/NewtonFarm.