PLANS to transform a historic house with Bronte links into luxury holiday accommodation have sparked anger.

Proposals for a major refurbishment of the Grade II* listed former Red House museum, at Gomersal, won all-party support at a meeting of Kirklees Council’s cabinet.

But opponents have vowed to fight the scheme, which they claim will "tarnish the purity of the building".

Dating back to 1660, the property and grounds are considered an important heritage asset.

They are associated with Luddite activities and the Taylor family – particularly Mary Taylor, a writer and early feminist.

And the house is revered by Bronte fans. Charlotte – a friend of Mary – was a regular guest at the property in the 1830s and gave it a starring role as Briarmains in her novel, Shirley.

Kirklees Council says its plans to invest £600,000 to bring the house – and a neighbouring cart shed – back into use will safeguard the site for the future.

However, Imelda Marsden – a long-time member of the Bronte Society – has raised concerns together with fellow social historians and aficionados.

“There’s loads that could be done with Red House – and it’s not just about the Brontes," she said.

“We have seen plans which appear to show that bathrooms will be put in upstairs bedrooms. That’s utterly ridiculous. It will tarnish the purity of the building. People are annoyed and devastated. How dare they do this?”

She said Bronte enthusiasts across the world were coming together to oppose the proposals – and she warned that a legal challenge could be mounted if necessary.

Red House operated as a community museum, but falling visitor numbers and rising costs led to its closure in 2016.

A decision to allow the property to be marketed for private sale prompted a petition from Red House Heritage Group in 2019, which resulted in the council’s cabinet agreeing to explore alternative uses for the site which could maintain it in public hands.

Under the new plan, designed to appeal to the luxury tourism market, the house would accommodate ten guests. And once the business was established, it may also host weddings. The cart shed would be split into four self-catering apartments.

Revenue generated from holiday stays is expected to be sufficient to cover the cost of operating the scheme and to enable a series of open days/weekends to take place, ensuring community access to the site.

Cabinet member Councillor Graham Turner: “It’s important we recognise this project has been a challenge due to its complexity and its historical links with the Brontes, but I am sure it will be a great success and will pave the way forward on how we deal with similar buildings in the future."