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Mort's spirit lives on

From the Lancashire Evening Telegraph, first published Thursday 26th Sep 1996.

ASTLEY'S ancient manor house saviours have got the planning go-ahead for their ambitious 1million-plus village hall dream scheme.

Overjoyed members of Morts Astley Heritage Trust this week heard planners give the go-ahead for their community centre plan at the heart of Astley Village Conservation Area.

And that official seal of approval should prove a vital ingredient to securing needed Lottery and Euro cash to fund the Dam House conversion focusing on medical care.

The Grade Two listed building, once Astley Hospital administration block and for centuries the village manor house, is now set to become a medical practice with clinic, pharmacy, nursery school, community room and offices.

Visionary villager Christine Jones admitted :"We are so excited. I think the Morts - who built Dam House (rebuilt in 1650), the parish church and the old grammar school - would be proud of us. That spirit still lives.

"It's been hard work for the past two years but I think we have proved the Doubting Thomases wrong.

"The North West Health Executive has told us Dam House is ours, subject to planning permission and funding - and now we have permission we should be able to secure Heritage Lottery funding and a Euro Rechar grant plus Groundwork help.

"We're working in partnership with the authorities and hope to have a say in what happens on the rest of the hospital site zoned for development.

"Backing from everyone has been brilliant and our group now intends to work to preserve other buildings.

"It seems the late Astley Vicar the Rev William King was right when years ago he wrote 'the spirit of Adam Mort is at work in the lives and achievements of many who followed after him. There is no escaping the conviction that in this place something potent was started by Adam Mort which continues still'."

Morts Trust secretary Armin Pennington added:"We're delighted, although we do realise our work has just started.

"This scheme will serve two purposes - preserve Dam House for future generations and also provide much needed facilities for Astley. We're very excited."

Converted for the new archive on 14 July 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.

From the Lancashire Evening Telegraph


Newsquest Media Group 1996

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