Plan to turn historic Cheshire pub into homes is thrown out

Developers wanted to knock down the building and construct five homes

Plans to knock down a historic Cheshire pub for a housing development have been thrown out. A proposal to demolish the derelict George and Dragon in Higher Hurdsfield, near Macclesfield, to build five homes was refused by Cheshire East Council this week.

The plans for the Rainow Road pub, thought to be 400 years old, were unveiled back in 2020 – five years after a fire severely damaged the building. It has stood empty ever since.

The applicant, Ian Marlowe, had proposed to turn the site into a terrace of four two-storey homes and one two-storey detached house. There would have also been 11 parking spaces – three for the detached house and two for each of the terraces.

READ MORE: Plans lodged for Cheshire town’s first Lidl store

A report by consultants Emery Planning submitted with the application says: “The two-storey whitewashed building was severely damaged by a fire in January 2015 and it requires extensive structural repair.

“It is understood that the condition and appearance of the building is of concern to local residents.

“It is proposed to replace the existing building with a new building on the same footprint. The scale and form would reflect that of the existing pub building.”

But the plans were widely opposed in the parish, with many lamenting the potential loss of the pub and others criticising the nature of the proposed development itself. There were also concerns from organisations including Historic England, which described the George and Dragon as part of ‘the spiritual and social heart of Higher Hurdsfield’.

It’s response to the plans stated: “The demolition of the George and Dragon Public House would denude the conservation area of one of its most significant buildings. This would have a considerably negative impact on the legibility of its former historic form and character, and the ability to understand it as a separate settlement from Macclesfield.

“It would also involve the removal of a building which makes an important positive contribution to the appearance of the conservation area, and how it is experienced. The replacement buildings, although proposed to be constructed in stone, would not replicate the visual character of the demolished building.

“They would also reinforce the sense of a linear residential development running north-east from Macclesfield and therefore further obscure the historically separate nature of Higher Hurdsfield.”

In recommending refusal, a planning officer at Cheshire East Council described the proposal as ‘inappropriate development in the green belt’. The report also said the loss of a ‘non-designated heritage asset would cause harm to the Higher Hurdsfield Conservation Area’ and also described the development as ‘overbearing’.

The application was refused on these grounds. More information can be found on the Cheshire East Council planning portal by searching for reference number 20/2743M.

  • 15:34, 7 OCT 2022