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Last Updated: Sunday, 17 February 2008, 15:37 GMT
Tycoon warned over at-risk estate
Sir John Hall
Sir John Hall outside Woolsington Hall in 1994
Millionaire tycoon Sir John Hall has been told he must make urgent repairs to a historic property he owns, or risk a compulsory purchase order.

Sir John, who built the Gateshead MetroCentre, bought the 17th Century Woolsington Hall estate, near Newcastle Airport in 1994.

The former Newcastle United chairman had planned a football academy on the site, which is now in poor repair.

Now Newcastle councillors say he must improve the Grade II site, or lose it.

The Woolsington Hall Estate has been on a national list of buildings at risk since 2002.

Urgent repairs

English Heritage said the site was at "immediate risk of further rapid deterioration."

A Newcastle City Council spokesman said: "The ultimate sanction we could use is a compulsory purchase order to take the property on ourselves or to get a developer on board.

"What we really need to do is as a matter of urgency, is actually look at getting the building into a fit state of repair, so it is wind and watertight.

"We are trying to get together a schedule of urgent repairs and insist that the Hall family take that on as a matter of urgency."

In response, Sir John said: "We fully intend to carry out the emergency works required and then proceed with our plans for a boutique hotel and golf course."

City council bosses are to discuss the matter again next month.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Sir John Hall on his Woolsington Hall estate



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