COUNCIL chiefs in Burnley have pledged to disuss the future of the run-down Extwistle Hall with the site’s new owners.

Concerns have been raised about the disused 16th century gentry hall for almost 40 years, but several proposed developments have failed to materialise.

The council’s new deputy leader, Coun John Harbour, said he would approach the hall’s recent buyers, but ruled out any chance of the authority investing in the site.

Resident John Rowe, who spoke on the matter at the council’s annual meeting, said: “What I’d like to know is how this state of affairs came about?

“In 1975, it was habitable. It wouldn’t have taken a great fortune to bring it under repair. It is not like Towneley Hall or Gawthorpe Hall - it is unique in itself.

“This is a scandalous state of affairs. What is being done to prevent it happening to other buildings of similar historical value?”

Coun Harbour said the ownership of the hall had changed ‘recently’ but it is not known if it is still in the hands of the Isle of Man-based company Extwistle Properties Ltd.

He said: “The current position is that the council will enter discussions with the new owners of the hall to stop future deterioration.

“It is likely that the discussions will take some time to conclude. It’s something that has gone on for 30 years now.

“As with other heritage properties, the council does not have the resources to intervene. To do so would place the council’s finances at risk.”

The hall, off Todmorden Road in Roggerham, on the outskirts of Briercliffe, was built in 1585 by the Parker family.

The site, near Lee Green reservoir, was previously home to a monastry, but has been unoccupied since the 1970s.

Coun Roger Frost, a Burnley historian, said: “I’m pleased to hear what Coun Harbour has said. For 30 years or more it’s been a problem.

“The main reason nothing has happened is that although there have been private owners involved and interested in development, when they had to do the sums and looked at the potential sale value, the two figures didn’t add up.”