Campaign to save former home of Black Country chainmaker Noah Hingley
The former home of the man credited with bringing chainmaking to the Black Country is at risk of being bulldozed - sparking a campaign to save it.
Developers want to knock down Hatherton Lodge in Cradley, the former home of Noah Hingley, and build seven houses in its place.
Mr Hingley, whose world-renowned Netherton ironworks N. Hingley & Sons made the anchor for the Titanic, lived at the property with his son Benjamin during the 19th century and is one of the Black Country's most famous industrialists.
The bid to knock it down has been met with a backlash form campaigners who insist the building should be preserved due to its historic importance.
Around 250 people have supported the bid to save Hatherton Lodge in just a few days.
The once-grand Victorian property stands on Drews Holloway but has fallen into a state of disrepair over recent years.
It is classed as a non-designated heritage asset, which campaigners hope will hold some sway with council planners.
James Warwick, who lives in Cradley and is spearheading the campaign, which states the Hatherton Lodge is 'not just a house' but 'a piece of our local history', said: "The contribution the Hingley family have made to Black Country history cannot be understated and there is a strong belief in the community it should be saved.
"I think they should be looking to sell it to someone who is willing to give it a chance and bring it back to its former glory rather than thinking 'we'll just knock it down'.
"This was the home of someone who was pivotal in local history and it seems a bit sacrilege to be thinking this is something that doesn't need preserving."
A planning application to demolish the house has been submitted by Cornbow Properties, which wants to put two three-storey and five two-storey houses on the site.
More than 30 official objections have been sent to Dudley Council, which will have the final say on the controversial proposals.
Gould Singleton Architects, which has submitted the plans on behalf of Cornbow Properties, said the house shows 'considerable signs of distress and disrepair' and has urged the council to approve the plans.
Councillor Paul Brothwood, UKIP leader in Dudley, suggested preserving the building at the Black Country Living Museum if there was no way of saving it.
He said: "We need to see if it's possible to save it but if not maybe it could be relocated to the museum due to its historical importance."