A long-time campaigner for the restoration of Buile Hill mansion is cautiously optimistic that the latest plan will finally come to fruition.
Former Liberal Democrat Councillor, Mary Ferrer, of Barton Street, Salford, has been hoping to see the building restored to its previous splendour for 18 years.
Numerous plans have been floated over years but the latest ideas appear to have the best chance of being given the green light.
Last month, Salford City council set £1.2 million aside in its budget to renovate the Grade Two listed building.
And Mrs Ferrer has confidence that this new proposal by Salford council will help to achieve the targets set by Buile Hill Mansion Association, a group of active campaigners with nearly 1,100 members on Facebook.
She said: “Personally I’ve been campaigning for 18 years to get the mansion back up and running, not as a hotel or some kind of private enterprise.
“The council have been quite up front… There is an educational enterprise that wants to use the mansion which the council are working on at the moment.
“Within the building they will make sure there is a public realm, a cafe…with access to toilets.
“It won’t be a closed building… People who use the park will be able to use the facilities.
“We want it back up and running for the people of Salford.”
The mansion is almost 200 years old and is a key part of the history of Salford.
As a local girl with fond memories of visiting the building, Mrs Ferrer wants to ensure that this renovation plan renews public access to the mansion that has been closed for 20 years.
She added: “I’m an only child so when I was little me and my dad would go for a walk and we always use to go to Buile Hill Park in the summer holidays.
“I’ve grown up with the park.”
After the closure in 2000, several plans followed to turn the mansion into a hotel, and more recently public housing. But Mrs Ferrer has had a plan of her own for the future of the building.
“My personal preference would be a wedding venue,” said Mrs Ferrer.
“Myself and a few others about ten years ago put a business plan together to do just that. We were working with the lady that was running the banqueting suite at the time and she was all in favour of it, but the plan fell on deaf ears so it never came to fruition.”
With many failed proposals in the past, Mrs Ferrer is still not willing to put complete faith to this renovation plan just yet.
She said: “I don’t trust anyone at the civic. If they told me the sky was blue I would have to nip out and have a look.
“So, until I actually get a paper in front of me saying that this what is going to happen and it is put out in the public domain, I have asked our group to look at plan B in case this all falls flat on its face.”
In the meantime, Mrs Ferrer hopes she can continue to work with the mansion, revealing that her work will not be over even after the building is restored for public use.
“I’d like to carry on working with the park, there is a friends group there that work heavily with the park,” she said.
“But if it comes to fruition and it’s opened up as it looks it will be, then I’ll just be happy to see it back up for public use.
“It’ll be 200 years old in five years time so one thing that our group are looking at is having some kind of event to celebrate the mansion.”
So if the renovation plan goes through, it is likely that in five years time when Mary Ferrer and her group commemorate the Georgian building, it will be a mansion for the public, which Mrs. Ferrer hoped for after 18 long years.