PLANS to restore a historic building within a park for the community are a step closer.

Rock Hall, in Moses Gate Country Park, was closed as a visitor centre six years ago and a bid to the Heritage Lottery is being drawn up to return it to its former glory.

Banana Enterprise Network, a charity which works across Bolton and Salford, plans to acquire and save Rock Hall in Farnworth, for the benefit of the community. The charity has explored different options for the renovation, repair and re-use of of the building and have consulted widely on its proposals.

It expects to submit a first phase project bid to the Lottery by February 7and expects a decision within eight weeks of that date.

In a further boost to the plans, Bolton Council, which owns the building, has agreed, should certain conditions be met, to transfer ownership to the charity.

Jayne Allman, the charity’s CEO, said: “ The council have confirmed that they will be willing to transfer the hall to our charity, subject to compliance with their community asset transfer policy, appropriate member approval and the required funding being obtained by us.

“The council are giving us the chance to do everything we can to meet their requirements and obtain the funding needed for our Save Rock Hall project.

“This is really good news and will enable us to proceed with our Heritage Lottery bids.

“Naturally, we hope that we will be successful with the funding bids but we have a long way to go yet and still have various hurdles to overcome.

“We have a really good team of experts and fantastic volunteers supporting us, as well as extensive community support, so by working together we are hopeful of a positive outcome. “ The charity has received positive feedback from its heritage business planner.

Jayne said: “He has given us some great feedback and made a few suggestions to add to it. We are working on his suggestions and should finish the plan by the end of this week and send it to the council.”

Last year preliminary plans were unveiled for Rock Hall. Ideas included an upmarket bistro, wedding venue and training centre, with crèche facilities and the hosting of youth activities. It was then estimated that renovation would take around £1.5m. to renovate Rock Hall, which was formerly used as a visitor centre before closing around six years ago