Fresh hope for friends of old hall

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to secure the future of a dilapidated country house in South Yorkshire said yesterday they had new hope, after it was sold to a mystery buyer.

Firbeck Hall, near Rotherham, had been owned by businessman Glen Saint under the auspices of his firm Cambs Construction, which went into liquidation in May.

The company, which is based in nearby Harthill, is now in the hands of Leeds-based administrators KPMG and its assets, including the hall, are being sold to meet debts.

The Friends of Firbeck Hall was set up by residents in April 2009, after concerns emerged over the state of the house, which was run as an exclusive country club in the 1930s.

It is understood that the entire 40-acre site and listed buildings including the hall, a stable block and a lodge house were sold for 350,000 to a Doncaster-based developer on July 6.

Before the hall was bought by Mr Saint, it had been used as a wartime hospital, a centre for injured mineworkers and a rehabilitation centre.

Sid Ellis, a spokesman for the Friends of Firbeck Hall said: "We are keen to work with any owner genuinely concerned about the condition of Firbeck Hall and who has its best long-term interests at heart.

"We see a major role for us as maintaining an essential link between owner and a local community which has always regarded Firbeck Hall as an integral part of the village."

Yesterday, a spokesman for Leeds-based liquidators KPMG confirmed Cambs Construction was in liquidation and said the hall had been sold by its team as part of that process.

The spokesman said: "The hall was sold on July 6 for an undisclosed sum to an unnamed purchaser. Our team is continuing to work with the new owner of Firbeck Hall."