Sad sale of historic £1.5m hall

by Victoria Sheard THE death of the former president of the Save Mirfield campaign, who single-handedly prevented another stretch of green space being built on, may herald a new dawn for the developers.

Brian Dearden-Briggs, of 1.5m Balderstone Hall, died after a long illness in December last year.

His widow Ann said Brian had always refused to sell the hall to developers Bellway Homes, who she said own the fields around it, preventing them from going ahead with plans to build houses on the site.

The hall is accessed via a private road, Balderstone Hall Lane, off Flash Lane, which runs through the middle of the developer's land and which they would need to build across.

But now Brian's son Sebastian and two daughters Emma and Rebecca have put the hall with its adjoining cottage, converted stable block, gardens and private road on the market.

Sebastian said the family were very sad to be selling a place which held many fond family memories but now his sisters had moved away and with the pressures of inheritance tax they had to sell.

He said: "We have many happy memories – playing tennis on the lawn as children and parties in summer. It's a Mirfield landmark and we are very reluctant to sell, but it's too big for us now."

Ann too finds the thought of leaving Brian's home upsetting but said there was no choice.

Grade II listed Balderstone Hall, built in 1690 by the Shepley family, was given to doctor John Balderstone as a wedding present and it was then used as a surgery for some time.

The Dearden-Briggs family bought the hall from a Mirfield solicitor in 1975 but Brian, a well-known local character and vintage car enthusiast, was never keen to modernise or alter the hall, preferring to keep it in a traditional style.

The Sheffield-born owner of Modern Shop Fronts, based in Buttershaw, used to open the house to his children's friends, holding big parties and inviting round fellow members of the Vintage Sports Car Club to admire his eight vintage cars.

He was president of the Save Mirfield campaign for five years and was keen to prevent over-development of the town and its surrounding green belt land.