Could trust rescue hall?

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THE National Trust could be called in to help save Clarke Hall from closure.

The 17th century hall will be forced to close its doors to the public next month unless new funding can be found.

Although the National Trust has not been formally approached to step in, a spokeswoman said the charity, which also looks after Nostell Priory, would not rule out taking over the popular attraction.

She added: “Places are reviewed on an individual basis, in line with the National Trust’s acquisitions policy.”

The grade II listed former gentleman farmer’s house was built in 1680 and has been used an education centre since the 1960s.

Janice Scanlon, publicity officer for The Friends of Clarke Hall, said: “At the moment the friends group has been given no further information from the council about the future of Clarke Hall.

“Speaking from a personal point of view I would welcome any help, whether that be from the National Trust or possibly English Heritage, which could provide funding to keep it open.

“Clarke Hall is not only used by schools in the Wakefield district, it is also used by ones from around Yorkshire and f0arther afield.”

Last week Wakefield Council said it could be forced to close the popular schools attraction on April 1 because of a funding crisis. It costs £300,000 to keep the grade-II listed open every year.

The Wakefield Schools Forum has voted to withdraw the Direct Schools Grant of £242,000.

The rest of the cash comes from other council funds.

The council said it was currently looking at all options to try and keep it open including talking to groups which use the hall.