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.
For more information on Mr A. Panchal’s plans for Wyreside Hall go to: http://site.wyre.gov.uk/Page.aspx?PgeID=76673&PvnID=86123&SchTp=DOCPUB&SchTm=la2+9dh&SchEl=DOCPLN&SchAt=All&BtnAc=Search&ClgPN=Planning+Applications+Search&ClgPV=13265&ClgPg=13266&BrdCb=1-24-13552-13553-13579-13266
Graham Anthony Associates, 2 Croston Villas, High Street, Garstang, Preston, Lancashire, PR3 1EA. Telephone: +44 (0) 1995 604514. Email: email@example.com. Website: http://www.grahamanthonyassociates.com
For more information on the Forest of Bowland go to: http://www.forestofbowland.com