Heritage experts warn of damage to listed hall

HERITAGE experts have warned that a proposed new hotel and leisure development near Dolphinholme will cause substantial damage to a listed building.

The Victorian Society has joined campaign group Protect Wyresdale in voicing opposition to the proposed £4m development of the Grade II Listed Wyreside Hall, in Wagon Road, which is due to go before Wyre Borough Council’s planning committee on April 4.

If plans are approved, work could start next year, and developers say up to 75 jobs could be created, with the building being given a new lease of life.

Owner Wyreside Hall Ltd has applied to convert the building, which is currently split into 11 flats, into a hotel and conference facility and build an extension to provide extra bedrooms and a gym.

Chris Costelloe, conservation advisor for the Victorian Society said: “Wyreside Hall needs a secure future which will only be achieved by finding a long term sustainable use for the house, but the current proposal for the building is too damaging.

“The large extensions and car parks haven’t been adequately justified and the quality of the design is poor.

“The society is concerned that the proposed changes will harm the setting of this important listed building.

“The Victorian Society is urging Wyre Council to refuse permission for the scheme.”

Graham Chapman, of Protect Wyresdale, said: “This is an area of extraordinary tranquility, but already floodlights are going up on the back of the hall.

“The proposed access to this hotel is along narrow country lanes and you cannot possibly have a conference centre and wedding venue accessed by these narrow roads used by walkers, joggers and cyclists on a daily basis.”

“Why they have to wreck a Grade II Listed mansion in its own grounds and along with it the tranquillity of this area I don’t know.”

Agent for Wyresale Hall; Ltd, Graham Salisbury, of Graham Antony Associates said: “The countryside needs to be allowed to breathe, live and work for the local community otherwise you end up with a commuter or retirement village which eventually loses all local shops, post offices and pubs. This has been an all too common a pattern across the country in recent years.”