Friday, November 11, 2011

Farewell to The Grange

The Grange was a lovely old house, one of the oldest in Eaglescliffe, and was home to a family which really made the house into a family home.  When our children were growing up there were always children living at The Grange, and more children visiting them, always welcome, always safe and though maybe I'm looking back with rose tinted memories, but they always seemed happy.  The children grew up and moved to their own homes and eventually it was time for the family to relinquish the old house.  Everyone hoped that another family would come to live there and have as much joy in growing up there.  Alas, it was not to be.  The buyer turned out to be a developer who simply wanted to knock it down and build as much as he could sell on the site.  The first application was refused and refused again on appeal.  The next application was again refused but this time granted on appeal.  Still nothing happened - no-one lived there and no demolition either.  Tiles came off the roof, weeds grew up in the garden, the fence was breached numerous times.  The old house grew ever sadder and more derelict. 
Another planning application came in and eventually approval was given for a smaller development than before - houses instead of flats.  Still nothing happened.  Still young people broke in and used it as an adventure playground from time to time.
Last weekend my colleague Cllr Alan Lewis discovered that primary school children as young as 7 or 8 had been playing there, Stockton Council officers had been notified but nothing was done.  On Monday Alan took the matter up and by yesterday he had a commitment from the owners to proceed with the demolition.  The enforcement officers with whom he dealt acted swiftly and decisively and we're very grateful to them that this weekend there's proper fencing up and the building will go next week.
I'm sad to see  a once fine family home left to get into such a ruinous state - a family could have lived in it for the past few years while the planning permissions were sought and finance sorted out for the work.  Instead it turned into an eyesore so that eventually almost everyone wanted to see it gone.
So, farewell to the Grange.  I won't go and see it demolished - I'll remember it as it was when the children were growing up, and I'll still hear the echos of the laughter no matter what is built on the site in the future.

No comments: