ANY proposals to demolish Egerton House and build a housing estate on the land will be met with strong opposition, a councillor has declared.

As revealed earlier this week in The Bolton News, the beleaguered hotel is set to close at the end of the month with the loss of 25 jobs.

Owners Macdonald has said it is exploring “the possibility of alternative uses for the site, including residential”.

Conservative leader Cllr David Greenhalgh, who represents Bromley Cross, said: “I find it very disappointing that we are losing such a landmark hotel and restaurant — one that’s been there for years and years.

“You wonder where it has gone wrong. I have been aware that they have been struggling for a while.

“Maybe they have put too much store in the corporate side and weddings and lost the connection with the community surrounding them.

“It is such a beautiful setting and house. My concern now is that we shall have some ridiculous planning applications for development.

“I know there was an inquiry made by Macdonald about the possibility of demolishing the existing house to build houses — an estate.

“We made it quite clear that this would not be an appropriate development.

“We would be totally against further develop-ment. I don’t know if they are trying to sell it as a going concern.

“Demolition and the building of houses is something we would totally fight against.

“It’s one of the really great traditional houses in the area.”

Eight weddings scheduled for the venue have been re-arranged elsewhere.

Macdonald has said no decision will be made about the future of the building until the hotel closes.

Mark Platt, manager of neighbouring hotel Mercure Last Drop, has voiced his sadness at the news of the closure of Egerton House.

He said: “The number of licensed and hospitality business closing or under pressure due to tough trading conditions, high utility costs and increased supplier pricing is squeezing the profitability margins.

"This remains a concern for the foreseeable future and continues to threaten livelihoods.

“Since the announcement, we have received a number of inquiries regarding weddings which were planned for the future and can assure the local community that we will assist and support in any way we can.”