Greenfield ‘eyesore’ could be brought back to life

A DISUSED Greenfield house described as an ‘eyesore’ would be brought back to life if planning permission is granted.

Hollyville Lodge, on Holmfirth Road, has stood empty for several years because of several structural and appearance issues.

But an application has been made to Oldham Council to partially redevelop it and bring it back into habitable use as a three-bedroomed property.

Work to bring what was originally a gatehouse or lodge house built between 1822 and 1854 by then owner Edmund Buckley at the boundary of the Hollyville estate, would include removing the existing dilapidated flat-roofed extension to the rear and existing low pitch roof.

Hollyville Lodge, on Holmfirth Road, has stood empty for several years because of several structural and appearance issues.

It would rationalise the ground floor layout to make it usable, including removing the split-level aspect to provide level access throughout and to the external spaces – making it a home for life, providing storage space and a suitable staircase up to the first floor.

A new integral garage, semi-sunk into the hillside, would be incorporated while a high-pitched roof, more in-keeping with properties nearby, to provide space for 3 good-sized bedrooms and a new family bathroom while still maintaining a low eaves level, including access out to a first-floor terrace and access to the upper garden level, would be put on.

External landscaping and boundaries would be improved to provide more suitable and usable garden space for the property while providing improved privacy and noise buffering from the adjacent main road.

The boundary would look better – as hedgerow and a hidden acoustic fence, rather than the current fence, which has fallen down.

And documents for the proposal state: “Our aim under this application is to create a high-quality family home that solves the issues with the existing house.

“We will achieve this by removing the poor quality and uncharacteristic roof and extensions, to provide a much more unified design that stays largely on the same footprint and retains the more positive aspects of the previous building’s character with a more modern feel, that better responds to the site and its constraints.”

The existing building, part single-storey with a section of two storey at the rear, is set within the hillside, with the ground levels rising steeply northwards, from Holmfirth Road and up behind the building towards Hollyville, rising well above the roof.

However, documents listed the many reasons why it has not been occupied for a while, adding: “The building has been completely eroded of its character as a gatehouse since its construction in the mid-19th century due to alterations that are poorly conceived which give the building a very disjointed feel.

“The building makes no attempt to work with the site or the topography, instead it abuts clumsily with the adjacent hillside and has an exposed water/soil pipe running along the ground in the inch wide gap at the rear of the property.

“While the existing property obviously no longer functions as a gatehouse, the location of the property retains an element of prestige in that it is the entrance to the grounds of the main house and larger structures beyond.

“Sadly, the current property does not live up to that prestige or look anything other than an eyesore in this relatively prominent road-front position.

“The internal spaces have awkward level changes, which make the house unsuitable for anyone who is not fully able bodied.

“In addition, these awkward levels split the house from the surrounding garden by several steep steps again making the property unsuitable for families or the elderly.

Hollyville Lodge, on Holmfirth Road, has stood empty for several years because of several structural and appearance issues.

“These issues are why the property continues to remain empty. This house, which is otherwise in a very desirable location, has been vacant for several years with little interest shown in its restoration or occupation.”

Even though Hollyville Lodge sits on green belt land, applicants believe the proposal should go ahead as it re-uses an existing structure.

And even though the roofline would change, they add: “The visual and spatial ‘openness’ (the character) of the green belt is perceived as a dense, mature treeline which surrounds the Hollyville golf course and grounds, with no long-range views below or through the treeline, but excellent long-range views of rolling hills above the treeline.

“The existing development is largely obscured by the hillside and the golf ‘tee’ plateau immediately in front of the house.

“Only the roof and a small amount of the gable is visible and it is surrounded by the dense treeline and backed by the forest beyond which is much taller.

“There is a spatial and visual ‘change’ to the height of the roofline as a result of the proposals, but this remains surrounded and backed by tall dense trees – the type of ‘impact’ does not change.”

They also say their scheme: “Enhances the site by replacing a prominent poor quality boundary fence with improved landscaping and a natural hedgerow boundary, enhancing the building’s setting.

“It creates a high quality design and a high value home from an empty property which will help retain and attract residents to the borough.”

Saddleworth Parish Council has not lodged any objection to the proposal, permission for which will be granted or refused by Oldham Council’s planning committee.

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