Hopwood Hall Estate appoints firm to conduct viability study

Date published: 05 March 2019

Hopwood Hall Estate announced today (5 March) that AEA Consulting has been appointed to produce a viability study about the future uses for the historic Hall.

The Grade II* Listed Hopwood Hall in Middleton, Greater Manchester, has been vacant for decades and is on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ register. The purpose of the viability study is to guide the redevelopment of the building back into use, supported by self-sustaining enterprises.

Hopwood DePree, a descendant of the Hopwood family, is Chairman of The Friends of Hopwood Hall Estate, a constituted community group formed to help rescue the Hall. The Friends applied for a grant from Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF), match-funded by Rochdale Council, on behalf of Hopwood Hall Estate to enable this viability study.

The ‘Friends’ group has been an outlet of active engagement within the community and has welcomed input on potential activities that can help maintain the property.

Mr DePree said: "This is another fantastic step forward for Hopwood Hall Estate: AEA Consulting has an outstanding international reputation with offices in London and in New York. Since our goal is to provide benefits to the local community as well as to have global reach and appeal, AEA will be a great partner.

"Rescuing a large historically important building like this requires a creative approach and needs extensive private investment as well as grant sources.

"It must strike the perfect balance between community and philanthropic activities as well as commercial endeavours marketed to a diverse audience to ensure its ability to thrive with a long-term viable future."

Adrian Ellis, Founder and Director of AEA Consulting, commented: "AEA Consulting is delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to early thinking about how to realize Hopwood Hall's potential contribution to the community and how to develop a sustainable business model to support it. This is a potentially transformational project."

Matthew McKeague, Chief Executive of AHF said: "Hopwood Hall has sat vacant for 30 years and is on Historic England’s 'At Risk' register. This important and very vulnerable building is crying out for help.

"AHF is delighted to support Hopwood and the Friends of Hopwood Hall Estate to take their first steps to explore viable future uses. We have been inspired by the work to date in bringing the plight of the estate to a wider audience and in giving a sense of the opportunities it presents for Rochdale."

Councillor Janet Emsley, Cabinet Member for Culture at Rochdale Borough Council, added: "The council is fully behind Hopwood’s plans and we look forward to the renovation of Hopwood Hall helping to boost the overall regeneration of the Rochdale Borough."

AEA Consulting is a global firm setting the standard in strategy and planning for the cultural and creative industries and is known for candid and impartial advice that draws on deep knowledge of the cultural sector as well as robust research and analytical insight.

Since 1991, they have successfully delivered more than 1,000 assignments in 35 countries, helping clients around the world plan and realize vital and sustainable cultural projects.

With offices in New York and London, AEA offers a talented, multidisciplinary team of professionals with proven practical experience who deliver personalized solutions to organizations in the arts, cultural, creative and public sectors.

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