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Council agrees Walton Hall investment
12:00pm Wednesday 19th September 2012 in News
WALTON Hall and Gardens - the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the borough is set to get nearly £2million to revitalise crumbling buildings.
The riding school will undergo a transformation to become an indoor public space for events while the hall will get a two-storey extension to house better kitchen facilities, a lift and new downstairs toilets.
Heralding the agreement of £1.9million in funding for the estate council leader Clr Terry O’Neill said: “It’s a thriving public park not a private park. It’s a public space for the people of Warrington.
“The work that has gone on over the last 18 months shows with a bit of investment it can be a thriving business.”
Work is already ongoing to create a new cafe in the former heritage yard and new toilets are being added to the children’s zoo after plans were put in place to tackle the decline of the facilities.
Clr Kate Hannon, executive board member for leisure, community and culture, told an executive board meeting on Monday: “We decided as a Labour administration we would invest in the jewel in the crown.
“It hasn’t been invested in for a few years. It needed better facilities.”
The executive board praised work by officers, councillors and the Friends of Walton Estate to look at every aspect of the park and work on business plans to help it flourish.
Councillors were told the hall had become a popular conference and wedding venue with most weekends booked up for the next two years.
Plans are also being drawn up to install a lift in the golf course club house so it can also be marketed for events.
“The riding school, which is a great big open space, will be done up so it’s another space that can be used for functions in the future,” added Clr Hannon.
And meetings are lined up with groups such as the Heritage Lottery Fund to see whether funding is available to bring the conservatory back into use.
Clr Hannon added: “It shows the commitment from this authority that we are investing in Walton and we will carry on investing to bring it up to standard for people in Warrington and beyond.”