COUNCIL bosses were accused of not caring about history after a 17th century building was quietly consigned to demolition.
A move to knock down the empty Ye Olde Hall at Bramley for new housing has been approved by RMBC’s planners.
Resident Mat Dyson (28) said: “This building has stood at the heart of Bramley village since 1666 and, rather than see it restored sympathetically, the council would rather see it destroyed.
“It’s a catastrophic occurrence for the village, demolishing a building with such a long history, most likely to make way for characterless new builds.
“It’s a crying shame. Another historic and iconic building will be destroyed. Unfortunately history means nothing to the authorities any more.”
Applicant Dennis Hobson is a director of JML Residential Property Developments, which filed two applications for the site in 2016 — both included preserving the building.
The first was rejected as overdevelopment but the next — conversion to six homes — won approval from the council.
But in Mr Hobson’s new application — including a 2019 structural inspection — he said he had been told by the council to apply for demolition, or face enforcement action over youths trespassing on site.
His planning papers added: “The structural survey has shown that it is not suitable for conversion.
“As much of the original stone work as possible is to be reused. The site is to be reused for residential subject to a planning application.”
One concerned resident made a last-ditch attempt to save the building by obtaining listed status.
Historic England said this was turned down because there was not enough evidence to show the site had a high level of special architectural or historic interest in a national context.
Bramley Parish Council clerk Rob Foulds said: “This application has never appeared on the weekly planning applications register, and does not appear on the council’s website map facility.
“Bramley Parish Council only learned of this proposal/approval through the Advertiser. At least two of the neighbours confirm that they did not receive the usual advice that RMBC issues to neighbouring properties.
“The site notice which is said to have been erected gives a start date, presumably for consultation purposes, but no end date, nor does it give Rotherham Council’s contact details regarding the planning application.”
There were no planning documents for the application on RMBC’s website until this was queried by the Advertiser and Mr Foulds this week.
Mr Foulds said the decision went against the council’s supposed policies of protecting heritage assets and resisting proposals which detrimentally affect the settings of listed buildings — with the hall over the road from Warren House and next to the former Wesleyan Chapel.
And he added: “Why was authority to approve the application delegated to a council officer, when consultation was not properly carried out? There could have been quite easily sufficient opposition to ensure it was considered by the planning board.”
“Also, if these buildings are so unsafe, why has RMBC granted permission with five years for the buildings to be demolished?”
A borough council spokeswoman said: “The applicant has indicated that a previous structural survey has identified that the buildings have fallen into a state of disrepair and that despite a previous permission for conversion of the buildings, they are no longer suitable for this purpose.”