FOR me the story started recently with the receipt of a forwarded email from Barrie Pennington concerning the former NHS property on Cowley Hill Lane. 

It was a message from Stanley Gibbons, which read: “The above property was advertised as ‘for sale’ recently and looks like it is being allowed to deteriorate as we speak. It is next to Victoria Park and was, in its time, a handsome property. 

“The existing gateposts to the Victorian house in Balker Drive happen to be turnpike road milestones and are creating some interest with local historians. They have been authenticated by the Milestone Society - ‘The St Helens Milestones were originally on the old turnpike road between Prescot and Ashton-in-Makerfield and are the first milestones to have been discovered for this route’.

“It turns out it was common practice by the council to sell off the stones when the turnpike trusts were wound up. I and my colleagues are private citizens who want to make sure the stones are preserved when the site is finally redeveloped. 

“There are very many instances of historical artefacts being binned or destroyed knowingly or unknowingly when redevelopment occurs. 
“To this end we are looking to relocate the stones just 500 yards or so from the Mansion House in Victoria Park, where they can be seen and create an interest for the public at large. 

“It has been difficult to find someone who has the authority to help us achieve our goals and we would greatly appreciate help in this direction. Should we be allowed to move the stones we can then enlist the help of St Helens Council who would welcome the gift of these historic milestones to display in Victoria Park” 

It was formerly a 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust building. 
Now I am an elected governor for St Helens on that NHS Trust so I am pursuing those lines of enquiry as the property was passed to NHS Property Services to sell. 

I have also alerted the Council’s conservation officer and the planning department. Windle Councillor Gill Neal is supportive, as is Ann Shacklady-Smith of the Friends of Victoria Park. 

We need to pursue the question that if they are saved, where exactly will they be located Further news when we have it.

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