ONE of Crewe's finest buildings is closing its doors to be sold for millions - sparking a row over where the money will go.
After months of speculation over its future, for sale boards have gone up outside Webb House and developers are already queuing up to buy it.
The former railway orphanage, which dates to 1909 and became a residential centre for psycho therapy, is being sold by the Bolton, Salford and Trafford NHS Trust.
But a row is brewing over where the money will go and whether Crewe and its cash-strapped NHS services will miss out on the vast sum to be made.
Crewe and Nantwich mayor, Howard Curran, said: 'Webb House was built for the bereaved children of local workers who lost their lives on the railway.
'A wonderful listed building of this calibre, in extensive grounds, will be worth millions and it is only right some of the money comes back to Crewe.
'It would be a particularly timely gesture when our own NHS Leighton Hospital has money problems and local people are trying to raise funds for a cancer treatment centre.'
Since 2000, the stunning Grade Two listed building, surrounded by more than fouracresofland, hasbeenaretreat for people with personality disorders from across northern England.
From the start, it was dogged by controversy with families claiming the patients posed a threat to children playing in Queen's Park opposite.
There was fury when one disturbed patient, pretending to have a gun under his coat, went into a pub threatening to
Mental health workers maintained their patients were no threat but after a long-running wrangle announced closure plans in 2004.
But Cllr Curran, whose ward takes in Webb House, said: 'What concerns me now iswherethemoney willgoandwhat will happen to this historical gem.'
Trust officials yesterday confirmed Webb House was on the market and income from the sale would be ploughed back in its services.
It would be launching a communitybased service for patients with personality disorders, supporting people from across the North West including Crewe.
Manchester property agents Matthews and Goodman, said there had been a healthy interest from potential buyers. Three have already viewed it and another is expected this week.
A spokesman said: 'We are not indicating a price, but remaining open to offers in order to get the best possible deal for our clients, the NHS Trust.'