CAMPAIGNERS fighting plans to demolish a historic house claim it would be a tragic loss for the area.
Controversial proposals to pull down the historic Sandiway Cottage to allow homes to be built on the site are to be scrutinised at a public inquiry next month.
Developers Morris Homes wants to demolish the cottage and replace it with 22 detached properties. The plans have already been turned down by Vale Royal Borough Council, but Morris Homes forced an inquiry which will take place on January 19.
The developers are seeking outline approval for the principle of any development on the site - matters relating to siting, design, external appearance and landscaping would be reserved for another application.
The half-timbered house off Chester Road is thought to date back to before 1845 and is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the village, with local residents saying it adds a tremendous amount of character to the area. It is also noted for the glorious display of spring flowers amongst the trees that surround the property.
Both Hartford Parish Council and Vale Royal Borough Council rejected the proposals, which were originally for 16 private homes and two blocks of 16 apartments, last October, but the plans have since been amended.
Hartford Civic Society also strongly objects to the proposals and vice-chairwoman Hilary Clegg said she hoped the cottage could be saved.
She said: 'There are several reasons as to why this development should not go ahead. One is that we have already got a lot of extra housing in Hartford. The roads are a nightmare, some mornings traffic stretches almost back to the bypass. This development would increase that.
'There are other concerns over the infrastructure such as the schools, which are already oversubscribed.
'On top of that, though, Sandiway Cottage is a beautiful building. It would be a disaster if this went ahead and the Civic Society is very, very strongly against the proposals.
'Sandiway Cottage is one of the jewels in the area and if you demolish them all to build new houses, then it is a tragedy for future generations.'
Representations will be made at the public inquiry next month and Mrs Clegg added: 'The application was refused by Vale Royal Borough Council's planning committee and we feel that we have that on our side, but you never know what will happen at an inquiry.'
Vale Royal Borough Council rejected the proposals on three grounds - the oversupply of housing, the impact on trees and the effect on the character of the area.
The inquiry will be held from 10am on Wednesday, January 19, at the council offices at Wyvern House in Winsford. Anyone who wants to speak out about the proposal must attend by 10am.