AN ambitious multi-million bid to save a 19th historic Bolton home is being prepared for National Lottery chiefs.

Campaigners working to restore Rock Hall, in the grounds of Moses Gate Country Park are submitting an expression of interest to the Heritage Lottery, which if accepted, a full bid will be submitted to help cover the £3 million needed to breathe life into the Grade II-listed building, which at one time belonged to the Crompton family.

Charity Banana Enterprise Network is behind plans to bring the hall back into use and transform it into a major attraction.

Under plans drawn up, Rock Hall would be expanded back to its original size and incorporate a café, shop, wedding venue and heritage room and organise outdoor attractions.

Jayne Allman, the charity’s CEO, told The Bolton News: “It is an exciting and also scary time.

“We are submitting the Expression of Interest which is to whet their appetite and after that a decision will be made to invite us to make a full bid for £3m.

“We have been told we will have a decision within four to six weeks.”

She added: “If we were asked and it was successful it would be like winning the lottery for all of us.

“The community in Little Lever, Kearsley and Farnworth is excited about it as well as people from across Bolton.”

Jayne said the project was not just about the building but about putting on outdoor attractions including forest schools, outdoor theatre and other ideas.

She said that the community would be involved every step of the way.

“We still have a long way to go,” said Jayne.

Rock Hall was built in 1807 by the Crompton family of paper-makers.

T B Crompton was a pioneer and developed a unique paper-drying process, which he patented.

In 1982, Rock Hall, now a Grade-II listed building, was opened as a visitor centre, forming the focus of Moses Gate Country Park. It was the headquarters of the Croal Irwell Valley Countryside Warden Service and housed the offices of Bolton’s park rangers until the service was scrapped in 2014.

Last March the project received £99,600 funding for its ‘Rock Hall – Saving Farnworth’s Paper Making Heritage’ project.

The grant funded a conservation plan for the hall, feasibility study design options and further developed architectural plans for Rock Hall.

If the new bid is successful 10 per cent of will have to be raised, which includes the work of volunteers as well as cash.