Concerns over ‘mini leisure park’ plan for historic Hall

PLANS: Grounds are set to be developed at the 700-year-old Samlesbury Hall
PLANS: Grounds are set to be developed at the 700-year-old Samlesbury Hall
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Neighbours living near Samlesbury Hall say they fear a new development plan will turn it into a “mini Centre Parcs”.

Trustees at the 700-year-old Grade I listed building, have applied for permission to install 28 ‘shepherd huts’, a tree house and build an extended play area featuring a mini hall and a wooden Mayflower ship.

They say the development is key to generating additional revenue to sustain the Hall, but neighbours have expressed concerns over the suitability.

Clare Lewis of Manor Court, Preston New Road, said nearby properties would be surrounded by the huts.

She said: “The size of the development is a worry. Twenty eight huts is a lot and they would be all the way round the house. There’s privacy worries, noise worries and security worries, and many people do not think this is suitable for a Grade I listed building.

“I get that they need to raise money, but this is not the right way. The tree house isn’t a tree house at all, it’s a cabin on stilts and how does a ship fit in with a Tudor house?”

The shepherd hut ‘hamlet’ is proposed for the existing golf course grounds, which Hall bosses say has become unsustainable.

Each solar-powered unit would sleep three people and provide washing facilities linked to a new septic treatment plant. Catering facilities would be provided in the proposed treehouse and Hall.

Sharon Jones, director of Samlesbury Hall, said: “We’ve had a meeting with residents and hopefully allayed a lot of their worries. The development would be very eco-friendly and sensitive to the surroundings - we wouldn’t put anything right in front of the Hall. The hamlets would be in a copse of trees well away, and the treehouse will be designed to allow the trees to grow through it while not overlooking any neighbours. The hamlet would also be fully fenced off so there shouldn’t be noise or security concerns.”

She added: “At the moment weddings are our major income generator, and without them, we would undoubtedly have to close. In the wedding business being able to stay is vital, so we have looked at ways to improve visitor experience.

“We’re very excited about the plans and hope to encourage more people to stay in Lancashire.”