A PETITION has been set up objecting to a luxury Wynyard-style housing development in the grounds of Acklam Hall, Middlesbrough’s only Grade I Listed building.

Acklam resident Tim McGuinness has launched the online appeal following an open day held this weekend displaying plans to regenerate the dilapidated hall, known as the jewel in the town’s crown.

He maintained that there are other more suitable plots of land and proposals, which are subject to final approval by English Heritage, disrespect the Restoration mansion’s heritage.

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Middlesbrough Council said extensive consultation had been carried out and the plans had received widespread support.

In a letter to Middlesbrough MP, Andy McDonald, Mr McGuinness said: "The council is obsessively building houses on every inch of green field it can. Yet there are large brown field areas such as the site of St David’s School, huge areas of Grove Hill, Gresham and the town centre that have yet to have any houses constructed.

He added: “I beg you to intervene in this matter and stop these plans to desecrate our history for future generations.

“This land should be designated with parkland with the hall to be restored and then utilised in an appropriate and tasteful manner, not a historic backdrop for wealthy homemakers.”

The hall is poised to undergo a £2m transformation, turning it into a wedding venue with a small spa, gym, conference rooms and a restaurant.

In its grounds Taylor Wimpey is set to build 56 four and five bedroom ‘executive’ homes and developer Acklam Hall Ltd, which owns Acklam Hall has earmarked land for a GP surgery with a residential nursing home.

Mayor of Middlesbrough, Ray Mallon, explained the vision at a public meeting in March and answered concerns raised.

A Middlesbrough Council spokesman said: “The plans have been the subject of extensive public consultation over a considerable period, have been through the planning process and have widespread support, both from the local community and from English Heritage who have been involved from the outset.

“Every effort has been taken to ensure the development is of the highest possible quality, and this remains the only viable proposal that will secure the future of Middlesbrough’s only Grade I Listed building for future generations.

“This important project will ensure public access to the grounds is retained alongside a long-term term management and maintenance programme for the Hall, grounds and woodland.”