Backford Hall resi plans approved

Plans to transform 150-year old Backford Hall and grounds into 63 homes has received unanimous approval from Cheshire West & Chester Council and will now be referred to Secretary of State for communities Eric Pickles for final sign off.

Backford Hall in the village of Backford has 40 rooms, a galleried hall, mahogany staircase, twisted chimneys and ornamental ceilings and was built in 1863 in a mixture of Jacobean and Elizabethan styles.

The grade two-listed hall and additional buildings were converted into offices by Cheshire County Council after its purchase in 1946. The properties are now owned by Cheshire West & Chester Council.

Jones Homes applied for full planning permission to convert Backford Hall into 10 apartments, convert the stable block and coach house into five homes, convert the barn abutting Gordon Lane into two homes, refurbish the Lodge into one home, and erect 45 homes in the grounds. Various additions to the hall and other buildings within the grounds would be demolished, with improved pedestrian connections, and a new play area.

The site would include 15 affordable homes.

Some councillors raised concerns about traffic in the construction phase, however a report put before the strategic planning committee recommended approval. Officers said: "The proposed development of the hall which includes the conversion of the hall to apartments, the removal of modern structures around the hall and the erection of new dwellings in the grounds of the hall would not be detrimental to the openness of the Green Belt.

"It would ensure the hall is in full use and its setting would be significantly improved."

The scheme has been referred to the Secretary of State because of its size and the council's ownership of the land.

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