Row erupts over plans to demolish Brackenside House for holiday lodges

Brackenside House was sold at auction last year. Picture: Regency Estate Agents

Brackenside House was sold at auction last year. Picture: Regency Estate Agents - Credit: Archant

A planning application has been lodged to demolish a ‘beautiful’ manor house and turn it into holiday lodges - but villagers say the late owner never would have wanted this to happen. What do you think?

Angry residents have aired their disgust at plans to knock down a ‘beautiful’ manor house in Bucks Cross and build holiday lodges.

Brackenside House, near Bucks Mills, belonged to the RSPCA but was sold at auction in July last year to Parkdean, which owns Bideford Bay Holiday Park.

But the park, which bought the property for £490,000, has now applied for planning permission to demolish the house and build 22 new holiday lodges.

Village ‘a bit miffed’

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Laura Spittles, from Bucks Cross, who owns the fields bordering Brackenside House, said the whole village was ‘a bit miffed’ at the application to demolish the house.

She told the Gazette the previous owner, Anne Arrell, who died in 2013, had gifted the house to the animal rescue charity.

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Mrs Spittles said: “She did write in her will saying she didn’t want Bideford Bay Holiday Park having the land.

“But the will didn’t need to be enacted because she gifted the house to the RSPCA before she died. We know she felt strongly that she didn’t want the holiday park to have the house, but I don’t think she envisioned they would want to demolish it.”

Application called in

Mrs Spittles has applied for the building to become listed, and Torridge District Council has served a Buildings Preservation Order on the house.

Torridge district councillor Robin Julian has called the matter in to be discussed at the council’s plans committee, calling it a ‘complete shambles’.

He said: “It has upset everybody.

“The holiday park is claiming it is structurally unsound but there is nothing wrong with it; it had a new roof eight-years-ago.

“I think the residents would be quite happy if it was turned into a timeshare for the people who work at the holiday park, but not knocked down.”

Shelter ‘not feasible’

North Devon RSPCA confirmed the money from the property was earmarked for a cattery or small animal facility, but said this was ‘not feasible’.

A spokesman added: “As an alternative we have pledged the following funds to be used for direct animal welfare in Miss Arrell’s name.”

A spokeswoman for Bideford Bay Holiday Park said it was awaiting a decision on the application.

She added: “We are pleased the RSPCA has confirmed the proceeds from the sale are being used for a worthwhile cause.”

What do you think - should the house be demolished or not? Vote in our poll above or comment below to have your say.

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