FURNITURE dumped outside Smithills Coaching house when it closed has been removed after angry residents complained that it was a hazard.

Damaged tables, chairs and a microwave oven are among the items that were left in the rear car park at the former restaurant when it closed its doors for the final time last month.

But Bolton Council ’s environmental services team removed the items on Thursday after concerned residents complained.

Neighbours and visitors feared the historic building might become a hotspot for vandals or may be set on fire if the furniture was not removed.

The restaurant, which was open for 46 years, closed on August 27, making all 30 staff redundant .

Ian Greenhalgh, aged 66, from Smithills, said: “It’s a disgrace how the building was left.”

He added: “I am really angry about the proposals for Smithills Coaching House.

“It would be a travesty to convert it, it’s the jewel in the crown.”

Controversial plans have been submitted to transform the Grade ll listed building into eight homes .

Developer Jones Homes also wants to build another 21 homes on land around the coaching house, but the plans are on hold after English Heritage objected to the proposal because it was unclear how the surrounding gardens and view from Smithills Hall would be impacted.

Speaking before the site was cleared, David Ward, aged 48, from Smithills, said: “The items are going to get more spread about and it’s a fire hazard.

“A lot of buildings like the coaching house get broken into and set on fire. It’s just scruffy now. The restaurant was thriving.”

He believes some of the items left outside have since been stolen.

Cllr Roger Hayes, who represents Smithills, said: “I saw items being moved from Smithills Coaching House a few weeks ago and I thought they were going in the skip and being removed.

“I am very surprised as the owner has always been very responsible.

“I contacted environmental services and asked them to liaise with the company directors.

I went up on Thursday afternoon and it had been removed.”