A rallying cry went out to protect Thornhill’s history as a 350-year-old row of cottages was being torn down.
Residents were outraged when they saw roof tiles being ripped off the buildings at The Cross, in the heart of medieval Thornhill.
They had thought the cottages and a barn would be refurbished, but they noticed demolition work beginning last week.
Community campaigner Shaun Maddox launched a last-minute attempt to save the structures, contacting English Heritage, but they could not help. A wildlife survey also showed that there were no bats or birds living in the buildings, so knock-down work has continued this week.
The demolition had been allowed by planners despite a plea from officers to retain the buildings.
In a consultation document, conservation and design officer Anna Blaxall said that although her team had no problem with the proposed method of demolition, they did not support it, and ‘ would strongly encourage that they are retained and reused.’
However, owner Yakub Patel said the buildings were deteriorating and replacing them would remove an ‘eyesore’.
He said: “These will be very nice affordable homes that respect their surroundings.”
Bricks from the original buildings will be used along with Calder stone.
Residents have expressed an interest in holding a medieval fair before the new homes are built.
Mr Patel said: “Once the area is clean, safe and tidy, we have no issue with this.”
People on two Thornhill community pages on Facebook expressed their feelings about the decision.
Barbara Hunter said: “I cannot believe this. It’s old Thornhill’s heart and soul.”
Pam Schofield said: “It is sad that these wonderful old buildings just get swept away in the name of progress and money of course.”
And Simon Reed Fozzard said: “The heart of Thornhill has been attacked.”
Now Mr Maddox is calling for a conservation area appraisal to be carried out to prevent any more of Thornhill’s heritage being lost.
“We need to raise awareness of historic Thornhill,” Mr Maddox added.