Sunday, 11 December 2011

Adam would turn in his grave


Wyreside Hall, near Dolphinholme in Lancashire, is a building that is close to my heart and when I learnt yesterday that an application has been placed to turn it into a hotel, I was utterly disappointed by the plans that I viewed.

The western elevation of Wyreside Hall

Situated on the edge of the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on land bordering the Duke of Westminster’s Abbeystead Estate, this is a little known area that Her Majesty the Queen once said she “dreamed of retiring to.”

Wyreside Hall is a grand neo-classical style residence remodelled in the late 19th century on the site of an older house. Architecturally significant, this is a building that incorporates design by Robert Adam and Edmund Sharpe.

Wyreside Hall's setting next to the River Wyre with the Bowland Fells in the background

Originally on land that was part of the manor of William de Lancaster, the Wyreside estate was purchased in 1799 by James Fenton Cawthorne. The Fenton Cawthorne family, known for their harsh treatment of tenants and involvement in slave labour, spent a small fortune hiring Robert Adam to redesign the hall in 1790 but having died childless in 1831, the house was sold by the trustees of John Fenton Cawthorne MP in 1836. Purchased by Robert and Emmeline Garnett, cotton and railway entrepreneurs, Wyreside Hall remained in their family until 1936 when the Duchy of Lancaster purchased the majority of the 803 acre estate and the house itself passed into a succession of private ownership.

The southern elevation of the proposed designs for the hotel at Wyreside Hall including an inappropriate extension

Last year, Wyreside Hall and its remaining 18 acres were sold to a man named Mr A. Panchal and now he has submitted plans to Wyre Borough Council to turn the building into a 39 bedroom hotel with spa facilities, a bar, restaurant and function rooms. Together with parking for 112 vehicles and coaches, this ambitious scheme involves the construction of an inappropriately ugly extension that is anything but “sympathetic” to the existing building.

The site plan of the proposed Wyreside Hall hotel development

Additionally, it must be noted that Wyreside is situated far from a main road and the prospect of 112 cars and coaches arriving there is something that this location is utterly unsuited to. Graham Anthony Assoicates, the agent of the owners, in their claims to the contrary, make an argument that is nothing other than ludicrous.

Robert Adam's partially executed design for Wyreside Hall

Whilst a hotel at Wyreside Hall will bring visitors to this beautiful and undiscovered part of England and provide employment for up to 75 people, the proposed plans are, to my mind, inappropriate and architecturally flawed. They should not be passed.


Graham Anthony Associates, 2 Croston Villas, High Street, Garstang, Preston, Lancashire, PR3 1EA. Telephone: +44 (0) 1995 604514. Email: info@grahamanthonyassociates.com. Website: http://www.grahamanthonyassociates.com

For more information on the Forest of Bowland go to: http://www.forestofbowland.com

47 comments:

James Wooley said...

What an outrageous scheme. I know this location well. It's miles from anywhere and the roads are narrow. They'll not cope with this. Wyreside Hall should remain as a private residence.

Anonymous said...

Any council that passes these plans should be ashamed of themselves. Historic buildings should not be tampered with in such a way.

Jackie O'Keefe said...

Well I think it is fantastic news for the area local business and residents; it will create both jobs and business in the surrounding area.

what does a very privileged individual know about managing, and maintaining properties in the rural north of England.
I am from the south of England, however I have recently visited the Hall and know the area well, this area is crying out for investment, and job prospects.

You obviously do not know the area, or the scheme, otherwise you would know that the Front elevation, and views onto the surrounding countryside are being maintained.

The extensions are to the rear of the servants quarters, and not in direct view. Planning policy dictates that there should be a definite break between the original,and new, so as not to mimic and detract from the original structures.
The hall was running into disrepair and I am delighted that such a beautiful building will be invested in and given a new lease of life, and consequently will give a boost to the local economy

Anonymous said...

The building is not being tampered with, its a building in disrepair that someone is going to breath new life into, keeping the old building as was and renovating and then adding a modern extension which all brilliant hotels have done, just take for example the Rookery Hall Hotel and Spa in Nantwich, Cheshire, a beautiful old building but they have added modern to it and its lovely and it works and that's also in the middle of the countryside down a country road. In this economic climate we should be pleased that someone is investing in such a building and creating new jobs and opportunities for the area .

Jacqui x said...

The council should be applauding these plans, not only will it create new jobs but the tired looking old building will get a total update, this will also enable visitors to appreciate the stunning scenery - cant wait for this to go ahead, I will be the first to book a room

Matthew Steeples said...

I know a lot about this building and have spent considerably more time there than those of you have commented. This location is unsuited to coaches and it would be better that Wyreside Hall remain a private house or be turned into apartments.

Ged Roe said...

Mathew Steeples,

You obviously don't know the roads or the access, as it is on a bus route.
HGV vehicles already access the Hall as works progress and continue on previous planning application renovations, and have done so for 6 months.

Matthew Steeples said...

Ged: what you state is utter tosh. What bus route?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks buses operate near this house and that the roads are suited to coaches is worse than the village idiot.

Eric said...

This is ludicrous. Anyone who has been to this crib would know that it is miles from anywhere. The narrowest of roads will not cope with the traffic. The cheap materials the developers plan to use and their ugly car park are just unacceptable. It's a disgrace. Wyre Council should stop this scheme.

Dark Avenger said...

It is not in London. No one would even care if they bombed the place.

Michael O'R said...

As a local I am in mixed minds about this development. It will be good to see the building back in use but the monstrosity that they propose adding is unsympathetic and made from cheap materials.

Matthew is right - Robert Adam (contemporary) is the kind of man needed here. When Graham Anthony Associates were mentioned, I thought "who." On checking them out they're mainly involved in minor schemes that look more akin to Barratt Homes than classic and important heritage developments. On this basis, the owner should pass the brief to someone with more experience.

With regard to the vehicles you are utterly right again Matthew. The roads are narrow and coaches should not be allowed.

It would be far better that this beautiful building be converted into luxury apartments as this would bring less disruption and traffic.

Martin H said...

No comment from the owner? Come on Mr Panchal: give us some justification. This scheme is awful.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Mr Steeples should put his money where his rather large mouth is and make an offer for the property. Just what IS his self-inflated connection to the property? I can't see how an hotel and it's guests could cause more traffic than a bunch of second homers with their deliveries from Ocado and Ikea. Mr Steeples, explain how you have developed and maintained the historic properties you own or put up and shut up! Prove you are more than a Knightsbridge dandy.

Matthew Steeples said...

I am obviously not alone in my dislike of this scheme.

Here's an update including a revelation of the owners as the Rogerson family and their manager to be one Sarah Rogerson.

http://www.lancasterguardian.co.uk/lifestyle/hotel_protesters_warn_of_lethal_increase_in_traffic_1_4061197

Jayne Crossthwaite said...

I bet the council don't listen. They've probably being chucked a bung by these Rogerson people. I hear they're especially naughty folk.

Carl said...

Matthew and Michael - I agree with you wholeheartedly. The proposed plans are shameful and if they go ahead the nature of the valley will be destroyed. The hall should be converted to apartments or maintained as a family home.

Matthew Steeples said...

Thank you for your comment. I am not alone in my thoughts and though you are perfectly entitled to yours, I would say that if you understood the location of this house you would not suggest it should be used as a hotel.

Matthew Steeples said...

It is a stunning setting and that is precisely why these plans should be rejected. It is also a most significant building and this is why the proposed extension must not be built. What is proposed is of Barratt Home style rather than Robert Adam grandeur.

Matthew Steeples said...

I think, actually, many would.

Matthew Steeples said...

An excellent suggestion, Carl. I totally agree.

Matthew Steeples said...

You are wrong. I know the area well and as a "very privileged individual" I really wouldn't want to see such a mighty fine building destroyed by this insensitive scheme.

Matthew Steeples said...

The scheme proposed is inappropriate and I am not alone in my thoughts.

Matthew Steeples said...

What bus route exactly? Do you really expect people staying in a 5* hotel will take buses? What tosh.

Matthew Steeples said...

It is now revealed the owners are operating from an offshore company. All sounds quite fishy.

Matthew Steeples said...

I agree.

Matthew Steeples said...

An excellent point.

Matthew Steeples said...

I concur.

Matthew Steeples said...

Your point about the architect engaged is spot on.

I wrote to them pointing out my suggestions. They ignored me. Says it all - parochial fools.

Matthew Steeples said...

Two comments have been removed at the request of Sarah Rogerson, estate manager of Wyreside Hall and her legal representative, Sadiq Tajbhai of Lewis Silkin LLP.

Matthew Steeples said...

Here's an example of a far more appropriate development proposal for such a significant building:

http://dasteepsspeaks.blogspot.co.uk/2012/03/flash-gordon.html

The developers of Wyreside Hall should learn from such.

David Jackson said...

Why don't the Rogerson family engage with the locals? They'd get more support if they at least answered the complaints put to them.

Roderick McKay said...

I hear a planning decision is due on 4th April. Wyre Borough Council really should do the right thing and reject this awful proposal.

Roderick McKay said...

What bus route?

Roderick McKay said...

I totally disagree with you. It's a stunning building and needs protection not destruction.

Roderick McKay said...

I disagree. The extension resembles an ALDI supermarket on an industrial park.

Roderick McKay said...

It sounds like it is you Jackie who doesn't know the area.

Roderick McKay said...

Why doesn't Sarah Rogerson say something herself? Come on: if you're the manager, you should communicate.

Roderick McKay said...

Who are you anonymous? What a silly comment. If they had a dislike button I'd press it on yours.

Roderick McKay said...

Stupidest comment here by far.

Matthew Steeples said...

 I have actually offered Ms Rogerson a right to reply but no response has been received yet.

Carl said...

and now we have the ugly monstrosity of a post and rail fence to look at erected alongside the drive from Wyreside Lodge to the beautiful old bridge. Unbelievable.

Matthew Steeples said...

 I'd be interested to see a photo. It sounds hiedous. I do think that those behind this scheme ought to up their game in terms of quality of materials.

Carl said...

These photos don't depict clearly enough the true impact but is an attempt at a before and after. It's getting worse of course as the fence increases in length - it's right  up to the bridge now.  It destroys the natural sweep of the valley and cuts the glorious view in half.

Matthew Steeples said...

Thanks Carl. What an ugly fence this indeed is. What is wrong with these people?

Carl said...

Found this entertaining piece:
http://bialskishire.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/wyreside-hall-i-like-you-have-the-democratic-right-to-an-onion/#comment-298

Matthew Steeples said...

Interesting reading. Sounds like a lot of people are getting very wound up.