AN elegant but fading Victorian hall near Dolphinhome is to be converted and extended into a five star hotel and wedding venue over the next two years.
Planning permission for the £4m project at Wyreside Hall was approved by Wyre Borough Council’s planning committee last Wednesday.
Residents living in and around the village had been split over the plans by owner Wyreside Hall Limited, which announced the scheme late last year.
Graham Chapman, from campaign group Protect Wyresdale, voiced concerns about “floods of cars” leaving the new hotel on the country lanes after wedding functions.
He said after the meeting: “Naturally we are disappointed with the decision to approve such an intrusive and unsympathetic development.
“Many of Wyre Borough Planning Committee councillors had not been to upper Wyresdale and the Hall until the morning of the meeting.
“Though nearly all expressed their amazement at the beauty of the area, they did not place the same emphasis on preserving the countryside and its tranquillity as we have done.”
Nigel Gilliat claimed many supporters attending the meeting were connected with the building or linked to haulage firms involved in the project.
Kate Dixon was worried about the loss of heritage, and pointed out there had been objections from the Victorian Society and the Ancient Monument Society.
Agent for the project, Graham Salisbury, said building heritage expert Chris O’Flaherty had been advising on the project.
He added there had been no objection from Nether Wyresdale or Ellel parish councils or highway chiefs, and the “30 to 40 full time jobs” created would be welcomed.
Pilling coun Don Lawrenson doubted any effect on wildlife, adding that enterprise to create jobs neded to be encouraged.
Preesall coun Paul Moon, who proposed acceptance of the plans, said: “At the end of the day the building needs to be developed and enhanced so people can enjoy the vista and the building itself.”
The two councillors who were unhappy with aspects of the plans were Garstang Coun Lady Dulcie Atkins and Calder Coun David Williams.
Coun Williams commented: “England’s green and pleasant land is diminishing.
“We need to retain what little heritage we have left in this country.”
After the vote on the proposal went overwhelmingly to accept the plan, there were loud cheers from the majority of people in the gallery.