AN historic hall could be listed as an ‘asset of community value’, giving a group hoping to bring the building back into use more time.

Bolton Council is currently in talks over a £1.5m renovation of Rock Hall, which has stood derelict in Moses Gate Country Park for six years.

Banana Enterprise Network, the Salford-based charity behind the bid, is developing proposals which include extending the back of the listed building to maximise the potential of the 200-year-old hall.

The plans include a bistro, wedding venue and training centre, with facilities for youth groups.

Jayne Allman, CEO of Banana Enterprise Network, said: “In July, during further discussions with council’s representatives about our proposals for Rock Hall, they told us that if we didn’t pursue the leasing option, then the hall would probably be put on the open market.

“To prevent this and to give us time to produce the documents and plans which the council need from us we took the step to apply for the hall to be recognised as an asset of community value.

“Their decision is due on September 21.

“The significance of our application is that if it’s approved “the owner may not dispose of their asset during the full six month freeze’.

"So basically, if our application is accepted, it gives the community six months to raise the funding to buy the hall if it were put up for sale in future."

Ms Allman added that their group had been overwhelmed with offers of support and help to restore Rock Hall.

She said: “We needed to consult the public about our proposals and we did this in August .

“In just three weeks we had 604 responses and 389 offers of help from people wishing to volunteer their services.

“Public consultation is key at all relevant stages of our project and we are very grateful for the response we have had so far and amazing offers of support.

“We need the council and the public on our side and together I truly believe we will save Rock Hall and turn it into a viable,  sustainable community asset.”

Rock Hall was built in 1807 for the paper-making Crompton family.

Last year, a sign advertising a ‘unique leasing opportunity’ appeared on the gates of the building, but all six expressions of interest it attracted fell through.