Sandown Hall ultimately became the victim of economic and commercial circumstances. The changing fortunes of the merchant classes in Liverpool and the end of the Hornby family line meant that in 1928 the Hall was sold. It was purchased by the Crawford Biscuit company and used until the late 1980's for their social club and offices, with the grounds used as sports pitches. After selling off part of the grounds, and due to dwindling staff numbers, Crawfords closed the club and the house was sold on.
A critical point in the Hall's future came in 1990 when a local developer bought the Hall and grounds. Subsequent actions brought the future of the Hall into doubt. In 1993 a substantial area of estate land was sold off for housing. In 1995 an application was made to the local authority for Listed Building Consent to demolish the Hall. This resulted in a Public Inquiry due to the District Council voting against the Planning Officer's recommendations for refusal.
Prior to the Inquiry, when the arguments for and against demolition where heard, security to the Hall was removed and a 2 month period of rapid vandalism followed. Some damage was causal but the majority was described as "very professional". This period saw the state of the Hall decline from reasonable, without apparent structural defects, to critical.
The Public Inquiry lasted 5 days after which the Secretary of State subsequently accepted the Planning Inspectors recommendations and dismissed the appeal. The Inspector commented:
"... only the applicants contend that the Hall is not important architecturally or historically. The council, English Heritage, the Georgian Group, The Wavertree Society and others all consider the Hall to be of Special Architectural and Historic interest."
continued . . .