Wakefield Council set to sell historic Woolley Hall

Date:2nd October 2012.'Woolley Hall, New Road, Wakefield.
Date:2nd October 2012.'Woolley Hall, New Road, Wakefield.

COUNCIL bosses are looking to sell the popular 17th-century wedding and conference venue Woolley Hall.

Wakefield Council’s cabinet committee are expected to approve the sale, on a 250-year lease, at its meeting on Tuesday.

The building’s use as a venue earns the council about £350,000 a year.

But a report to Tuesday’s committee said the hall and its stables were needing maintenance work costing around £2.7m over the next five years.

If approved, the hall would no longer be run by the council but would continue to operate as a wedding and conference venue and could also be used as a hotel.

A specialist operator would be responsible for managing the facility and arranging for work to be carried out on the building.

Coun Graham Stokes, cabinet member for corporate performance, said: “The council has to save money – we have no choice. But we are committed to keeping the hall in public use and to protect the jobs of the staff and honour existing bookings.

“The option of disposing of the hall through a conditional, very long lease means we can do all that and Woolley Hall will still be available for people to use and enjoy - this is a new future for Woolley Hall.”

The cabinet report said a consultation with hall staff would take place “at the earliest opportunity”. But it said jobs were not likely to be at risk.

The report said: “By securing alternative delivery arrangements the council will save money on the future operation of the property. The saving on annual running costs supports the protection of key front line services to the public.”

Woolley Hall originally belonged to the Woodrove, or Woodroffe, family who sold it to the Wentworth family in 1559.

Sir Richard Woodroffe was the High Sheriff of York between 1510 and 1518.

The present Woolley Hall is an example of early Jacobean architecture and was built in 1635 and renovated around 1800.