THE Friends of Victoria Park (FOVP) said they hope that community access to Mansion House will be maintained following the sale of the landmark building.

The Star reported in January that the iconic building in the grounds of Victoria Park is being put up for sale by Age UK Mid Mersey, who have owned Mansion House since 1993.

The independent charity that helps local older people, announced it has "reluctantly" decided to sell The Mansion House.

The building has been been home to day centre sessions and activity classes as well as the base for befriending and helping hands services.

It has been played an important role in the community and trading activities have included the Victoria Bistro, weddings and events and corporate room hire, and as host of the annual Mansion House Beer Festival.

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In a statement, the FOVP said: "Friends of Victoria Park are saddened to hear the news that the Mansion House is being sold by Age UK Mid Mersey.

"Whilst we understand it may not be profitable to remain in their portfolio, the Heritage Lottery TRI party agreement (between the council, the FOVP and Age UK) included a commitment to allow limited public access to the walled gardens, the kitchen garden, the Orangery to be used for FOVP events throughout the year which will now be lost.

"We sincerely hope that whoever purchases this beautiful house and grounds respects the restorations made with Heritage Lottery funding and offers the same kind of access to the local community.

"The Mansion House is not just the centrepiece to the park but an important landmark to the town of St Helens".

Sitting on Cowley Hill in the heart of Victoria Park, the Mansion House is steeped in history, and, built around 1849 by the late gentleman solicitor John Ansdell, has become an iconic building in the town.

Residents had expressed sadness at the news of its upcoming sale.

Meanwhile, St Helens Council has said it will be involved in any future sale of Mansion House as it holds a restrictive covenant on the building.

The local authority added that it, and Mansion House owners Age UK, are keen to ensure any future use of the building "is in keeping with the character of its surroundings and the wider community use".

The sale of the building has been listed on the Avison Young website.

The description on the listing states: "A rare opportunity to acquire this imposing mixed-use freehold premises in an attractive parkland setting.

"The property offers a variety of accommodation including offices accommodation, function room / event space and cafeteria. The property's focal point is the Grade II listed Mansion House constructed in 1849.

"Externally, there are two car parks. Car park one is a surfaced car park with 35 spaces and landscaping, lawn maintenance. Car park two is a surfaced car park with 45 spaces.

"There is a central courtyard that is block paved and provides external seating accommodation to the front of the Victoria Bistro".

For any enquiries regarding the sale of the Mansion House, or to request the marketing pack, please contact Avison Young (Joel Crossfield, director), on 0161 956 4326, or email