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New life in prospect for long-derelict 19th century hall

This is an archived press release

Friday 8 March 2013

Bennetston Hall in its derelict state (c) copyright Stephen Burton licensed for reuse under Creative CommonsThe late Victorian Bennetston Hall, derelict since a devastating fire in the 1980s, has been approved for conversion to luxury apartments by the Peak District National Park’s planning committee.

The landmark building became an eyesore for motorists for more than 25 years as they entered the national park on the A623 near Dove Holes and Sparrowpit.

Now the former private house, youth hostel, country club and hotel will have a new lease of life with conversion into five apartments and a self-contained cottage.

The developers, Puro Property Partnership of Knutsford, bought the hall at auction after previous owners spent many years embroiled in legal and planning arguments.

The planning committee approved the proposal unanimously. Chair Cllr Lesley Roberts commented: “We’d like to thank the developers for what they are going to do for that building which has been a blot on the Peak District landscape for too many years.”

Puro Property Partnership has agreed to restore or re-instate most features of the original Victorian architecture, including re-roofing, castellations along the frontage and authentic windows and doors.

Pauline Beswick, the Authority’s member representative for cultural heritage, said: “We are dealing with a heritage asset here, which though not significant enough to be listed nationally, is of considerable local historical importance. This is an enabling development that will mean it can be restored to its former glory, and survive.”

Though it is the Authority’s policy for new housing to be lower cost for local people wherever possible, planners agreed in this case it would not have been financially viable due to the high cost of renovation and conversion. Also the site, well away from services such as shops, schools and amenities, would not be appropriate for affordable housing.

After the meeting, Puro director Ian Southworth said he was very pleased with the outcome – as a walker he knew the area well and had long been dismayed at the state of Bennetston Hall.

He has already set up a website - www.bennetstonhall.com - which has attracted people to contact him from all over the world. They included someone who had lived in Bennetston Hall as a child, people who had stayed in it as an hotel, and relatives of its original occupants, the Coddington family, whose descendants include Grace Coddington, creative director of American Vogue magazine.

The restoration and conversion may take up to five years to complete, said Mr Southworth.

This is an archived press release

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