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Campaign to save home of man who brought chainmaking to the Black Country suffers huge blow

By Richard Guttridge | Cradley | News | Published: | Last Updated:

A battle to save the former home of the man credited with bringing chainmaking to the Black Country from the bulldozers has suffered a huge blow as planners recommended it be pulled down.

The Victorian Society and Save Britain's Heritage have pleaded with Dudley Council not to allow the demolition of Hatherton Lodge in Cradley, which was once the home of famous industrialist Noah Hingley. Seven homes are set to be built in its place.

Mr Hingley, whose world-renowned Netherton ironworks N. Hingley & Sons made the anchor for the Titanic, lived at the property during the 19th century.

Noah Hingley

A bid to save the historic house was launched by campaigners who insisted it was an important piece of Black Country heritage.

Nearly 100 official objections were lodged with the council, while more than 250 people also backed the campaign to save Hatherton Lodge on Facebook.

The once-grand Victorian property stands on Drews Holloway but has fallen into a state of disrepair, leaving planning experts with a dilemma of whether to have it knocked down.

Despite it being classed as a heritage asset, council planning officers have controversially recommended plans to knock it down be allowed to go ahead.

Two three-storey town houses and five semi-detached homes will be built in its place by Cornbow Properties, if the plans get final approval next week.

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It will now be down to councillors on the planning committee to decide whether to go along with the recommendations.

In a report ahead of the meeting, planning officers acknowledged the property's status as a heritage asset could make knocking it down a controversial move.

However, planners said Cornbow had claimed the house has a 'low level of heritage significance'.

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The report said: "It is concluded that the applicant has provided clear and convincing justification for the loss of Hatherton Lodge and they have demonstrated that the viability of continued beneficial use, restoration or conversion has been fully investigated and that there are no reasonable alternatives."

The report added the front boundary wall, gateposts and 'garden setting' would remain and that installing a blue plaque as a nod to Hatherton Lodge could be a possibility.

The Victorian Society waded into the row after the plans were submitted, insisting the building should not be allowed to be flattened.

A spokesman said: "We object to the demolition of this 19th century house – home of the great industrialist Hingley family – and its replacement with new dwellings."

Mr Hingley founded the famous firm in 1838 and it moved to Netherton 14 years later, making large-scale anchor and chainworks. He died at Hatherton Lodge in 1877.

Richard Guttridge

By Richard Guttridge
Chief Reporter - @RichG_star

Chief Reporter for the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton.

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