EMERGENCY funds are being offered to managers of a Grade 1 listed hall after asbestos was discovering during work on the building.

Bedale Hall, which dates back to the 15th century but was largely built in the 1730s, is run as a charitable trust.

John Noone, chairman of the Hall Committee said the £2,400 offered by the local Community Forum will mean they can carry out work to remove the asbestos quickly.

It was found in a wall in the boiler room when work was being carried out and part of the hall has had to be cordoned off while an assessment was done.

It is the latest setback for the Committee after they lost nearly a third of their income last year when North Yorkshire County Council pulled out of office accomodation leaving a large wing of the hall vacant.

A major campaign was launched to attract new groups and companies into the hall and Mr Noone said they have had interest with several new groups and companies moving in.

“This has been a setback because we couldn’t move forward with the lettings. Once North Yorkshire moved out there was a lot of work attached to it but now with help to get the asbestos removed we want to drive ahead and work towards encouraging new groups to move in.

“It really is a fabulous place, one of the best sites you could have to work in or establish an office so anyone who is looking to relocate or establish a new place should come and have a look at the accommodation we have,” added Mr Noone.

The hall is now a focal point for the town but at one time it was almost demolished. 

It had been requisitioned from the Beresford Peirse family during the war but by the time the army moved out in 1946 it was in such a dilapidated state squatters moved in.

Eventually it was sold to Bedale Rural District council for £4,000 in 1951 and they set about restoring it to its former glory. It was established as a charitable trust 24 years ago. For More information about the hall contact manager Sally Reed on 01677-423797.