Fears for future of hall
A man living close to a 300-year-old building that he fears could be converted into a home for young offenders, wants a public meeting with developers to clear the air.
Mr Dave Gardham (61) of Main Street, Ollerton, wants Pullan Developments, the owners of Ollerton Hall, which is listed for protection, to come clean about their plans for the building after councillors and residents were first told the hall would be turned into luxury apartments.
The managing director of Pullan Developments, Mr Kevin Pullan, and Newark and Sherwood District Council, have now confirmed it is being transformed into a care facility.
Mr Pullan is using planning permission granted to Sue Ryder in 1990 to build extensions in the hall’s grounds.
The permission stands as work began to fix the roof, but all the work was not completed.
Mr Gardham, a full-time foster carer, lives next door to the hall and can see the developments from his bedroom window.
He said rumours were circulating that the hall could be used for housing and rehabilitating young offenders.
This is despite the district council assuring residents previous plans to make it into a drug rehabilitation centre would never be realised.
He said: “As far as we knew it was going to be privately-owned flats.
“We just want to know what is going on.
“Even if it is semi-secure, these youngsters are not going to be in there for nothing.
“As a foster carer I have grave concerns for the children I look after if I am to live next door to this type of facility.”
He said the people of Ollerton ought to be aware of what was going on and a meeting may be the best way for people to get their questions answered.
A district councillor for Ollerton, Mr Brian Smith, said: “There is some doubt as to what the use of the hall will be, and I have a letter stating Mr Pullan is thinking of a young person’s facility.
“If this is the intended use there would have to be an application for a change of use.
“That type of facility is in great demand and I am sure someone would love to get their hands on that place.
“Residents were concerned when there were plans to make it into a drug rehabilitation centre. Naturally, no one wanted that.
“Everyone is just protecting their own back yard.”
Mr Smith said because the hall was listed for protection, the council should not be allowing planning applications to be made retrospectively.
He said he did not think a meeting would be a good idea, but residents would not be unhappy if the hall became a nursing home.
Mr Kevin Pullan said he had not been contacted by any residents’ association, councillors, or groups such as English Heritage.
He said the company’s telephone number was in the phone book and people could contact him if they had concerns.
He said he was happy to attend a meeting of Ollerton and Boughton Town Council to discuss the proposals.
Mr Pullan said if people were happy to accept Sue Ryder operating a nursing care home they should be happy for any other operator to be there.
He said Newark and Sherwood District Council bought the building for £1 and had the option of giving it to the community for £1.
He said the council chose to get the commercial value of it by selling it for £600,000.
Mr Pullan said the development was going to be a residential nursing care home in accordance with planning regulations.
When asked if it was going to be a young offenders’ institution he replied: “It is more likely to be the new home of a member of Take That.”
At a meeting of Ollerton and Boughton Town Council on Wednesday, members invitedthe chairman of the district council, Mr Tony Roberts, to the annual town meeting on April 10, to discuss the hall.