A woman from Salford has shared her heartbreak as Buile Hill Mansion, a place she played in as a young child, sits derelict and unloved for its 20th year.
Marie Piekarski is now eager to become more involved with the Buile Hill Mansion Association, a group of local residents who want to see the grade two listed building restored to its former glory.
The budding singer songwriter has filmed a music video to her song ‘When I Was Young’ in Buile Hill Park, where she sings about happy memories from her youth.
She said: “I have strong feelings about the park, I used to come here since I was four years old with my late father. You always felt safe and everything was cleaner.
“It’s just such a shame, it breaks my heart every time I walk through the park because you’ve got all these fond memories of how it used to be.”
The Buile Hill Mansion Association was set up in the early 2000s by local girl Mary Ferrer, who wanted to see the grade two listed mansion completely renovated and brought back into public use.
Through working alongside Salford City Council and other interested agencies, the group hope to raise sufficient funding to reach their goal.
The mansion, once built by Charles Barry in the 1820s, was once set to be turned into an extended country hotel in 2010 and, more recently, a plot of houses.
After being lying empty for 20 years, all hope of renovation seemed to have been lost, but the mansion is now on the brink of being saved.
Mary, of Barton Street, has been working hard to combat these plans, encouraging more local residents to make their voices heard on her Facebook group, which has just hit a milestone of one thousand members.
She said: “At the beginning it was just me, then we had eight more people come on board and we now have a very active committee.
“There were plans to turn the mansion into a hotel, but a lot of people joined forces and were totally against it. We are now in dialogue with the council who seem to be very on board with us, it’s now just about finalizing things.”
The group is discussing plans to convert the building into a self-financing community resource that will be set to benefit the people of Salford and its future generations.
Crowdfunding has now raised £280 for the group, but it would need permission from the council before any work can be given the green light.
When discussing a new project idea to transform the grounds into a sensory garden for the community, Mary added: “It’s been really positive. Everyone is behind us one hundred per cent.
“It’s close to a lot of people, as children and families grew up using the park.”
A recent survey by the association revealed that 70% of Salford residents asked, thought that the mansion should be turned into a tea room or cafe, with others opting for a museum or garden centre.
The group are continuing to encourage people to become members of their Facebook page and make the voice of the community louder.
Information about their meetings and plans for the Buile Hill Mansion can be found here.