Descendants of the last family to live at recently-demolished Cherry Tree Farm have slammed the Council’s decision to tear down the historic Grade II-listed building.

The family’s grandson and son-in-law have criticised the decision to pull down the 18th Century farmhouse in Fagley Lane.

Bradford Council has previously defended its decision, stating the building – which dates back to 1754 – had become dangerous and was demolished for health and safety reasons.

Richard Lofthouse, whose grandparents Ernest and Helen Thorley were the last people to live at Cherry Tree Farm, said the demolition came just days before the family were due to visit the site to mark what would have been Helen Thornley’s 100th birthday.

His father, David Lofthouse, who married the Thorleys’ daughter Annette in 1962, has joined echoed the criticism.

Both Ernest and Helen Thorley’s ashes are scattered at the farm, where they lived from the Second World War until 2006, working the land as a farm and also running a greengrocer’s from the farm’s front room.

David Lofthouse said they moved into the farm in 1942, renting it from Bradford Council, and worked the land for a number of decades. He said: “It is so sad to see how the Council treat history and do not seem to care about the past.”

Richard Lofthouse said he was “saddened” when he learned the house had been demolished. He said: “The property was Grade II-listed and should have been protected by the Council.

“The farm may have been one of the oldest farm houses of its type in Bradford. It dates back to 1754, there was a date stone above the door, this I guess is now in a skip.

“In the early 2000s my grandparents received a letter from the USA. It was from descendants of past inhabitants who traced their forefathers to Cherry Tree Farm, and visited it while on holiday in England.

“A listing is not just for the bricks and mortar but for the social history that comes with the bricks and mortar.

“Ernest’s last wish was to be carried out in a box from Cherry Tree Farm. He did get his wish and we scattered his ashes on the front field below the tree overlooking his beloved Farm.

“When Helen died later, we then scattered her ashes at Cherry Tree Farm to join Ernest.

“On August 26 it would have been Helen’s 100th birthday. I don’t think we’ll be going to visit a pile of rubble to remember her. Thanks Bradford Council.”

The Council said it would not be adding further to its previous statement, in which it stated that a free standing wall could have fallen at any moment, “crushing anyone in the vicinity”.

A Historic England spokesperson said: “We would normally expect to be consulted on applications for listed building consent where any substantial demolition of a Grade II listed building is proposed. We haven’t received any listed building consent applications for Cherry Tree Farm, but where health and safety becomes a major factor the local authority has the power to carry out emergency measures. In this case it was deemed necessary by the council to take down the farmhouse, having already issued Notices to the owner that urgent works were required. These powers need to be used with care as historic buildings are irreplaceable and deserve to be preserved as far as possible, but the decision here ultimately lies with the council.”