Housing estate fears for Coaching House
9:40am Sunday 5th August 2012 in News
Plans to transform the Grade-II listed building into eight homes and build a further 21 houses on surrounding land came under public scrutiny for the first time yesterday.
Bosses from Jones Homes were also at the drop-in session at the Coaching House to answer questions from the public.
The event was held ahead of a public meeting in the nearby Smithills Sports Centre last night, which was attended by more than 80 residents.
Cllr Roger Hayes, ward councillor and leader of the Liberal Democrat group, who chaired the meeting, said: “The main issue is to find out what you think.
“I know a number of people are worried about this.”
The Coaching House is to cease operations on August 27 after operating as a restaurant for 46 years and its 30 staff will be made redundant .
Those behind the development stress the transformation of the building will prevent it from rotting or falling into disrepair and will preserve its future.
However, members of the public, the local civic trust and councillors are among those who are opposed to the scheme, which includes demolishing a modern part of the Coaching House.
The homes are a mixture of two, three and four bedroomed properties.
Geoffrey Breakell, who lives in nearby Whitsters Hollow, said: “My main concern is the company is trying to create a residential estate here and using the Coaching House building as a lossleader.
“What we don’t want is an estate here.”
Stuart Bowman of Limefield Road, added: “I must say I am quite cynical about what this company is trying to do, certainly given that many of the homes are planned for greenbelt.”
Sybil Taylor, of Smithills Dean Road, said: “I am in support of the plans for the Coaching House, which I think has been badly in need of a renovation for years.
“As regards the homes, I am for the ones planned for the top car park, but not the others.”
Jones Homes chiefs have defended the decision to build on greenbelt land, saying they were returning about 50 per cent of the land to greenery.
Joe Savage, regional director of Jones Homes, who was at the drop-in session, said: “This has given everyone the opportunity to view the plans and to talk to us.”