HEARTBROKEN neighbours, living close to Smithills Coaching House, say they are “horrified” they will lose green space when homes are built at the site.

Controversial plans to convert the historic Grade II listed building into eight properties and build a further 21 houses on surrounding green belt land will go ahead.

Bolton Council granted the scheme planning permission and it was given the final go- ahead when Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles, decided not to step in and prevent the scheme from going ahead, despite it being on protected land and a heritage site.

A campaign was launched to save the Coaching House when plans were first unveiled last year.

But bosses from Jones Homes, the developers behind the scheme, insist the development will prevent Smithills Coaching House from falling into disrepair.

They have also said they will protect the “integrity” of the green belt land.

People living close to the Coaching House say they are “outraged” the homes will be built.

They have also expressed concern about the increase in traffic from people who will be living there One reader, who asked not to be named, said: “I have taken a series of photographs showing how beautiful Smithills is. I took them in the snow as this will be the final time anyone will have the chance to see this amazing spectacle. I have also taken photographs of the wrack and ruin of the beautiful building. “Deer are also regularly seen in the hall grounds.

“Has anyone actually thought how many cars will be using the drive to Smithills day in day out — it’s not just the people who will live there, it’s their visitors also, the poor residents that live at the gate house must be horrified to say the least.”

Joe Savage, regional director of Jones Homes, promised to return the building to its original condition.

Jones Homes, which was set up 50 years ago, has experience in restoration projects and converted the derelict 1860’s building The School House, at Clevelands, in Chorley New Road, into six luxury apartments.