A £35m project to restore and convert the grade one-listed Doddington Hall in Nantwich into a 120-bedroom hotel and spa can finally start after a decision to refuse plans for 112 homes on the estate was overturned on appeal.
The Doddington Estate, which is developing the scheme, lodged the appeal in February 2019 and 12 months later the inquiry began.
This week, the planning inspectorate opted to approve the residential scheme, saying its benefits outweighed any harm it would cause, paving the way for work on the hotel scheme to start.
For the renovation of the listed hall to go ahead, the estate required the creation of a residential development to plug a £14m shortfall in funding for the conversion project.
The Doddington Estate claimed the sale of the homes would raise an additional £9m and that the estate would fund the remaining £5m required.
The homes, ranging from two to five bedrooms, will be built across 12 sites designated as open countryside. A total of 10 of the units will be designated as affordable.
Cheshire East Council approved the estate’s hotel proposals, which also include the refurbishment and conversion of the 13th-Century Delves Castle and grade two-listed Star Barn, in 2016.
However, the residential scheme was refused by the authority despite a recommendation to approve from planning officers.
As a result, work to restore and convert Doddington Hall could not start.
Following the decision of the planning inspectorate to grant approval for the homes, work on Doddington Hall is expected to commence in 2022.
The professional team for the project includes Assael as the architect and lead consultant, J10 Planning, heritage consultant Iceni Projects, Clayton Property as client representative and surveyor, RPS CgMs as archaeological consultant, Barnes Walker on landscaping, and project and construction manager, Rees Mellish.
The appeal was led by Reuben Taylor QC of Landmark Chambers.
Justin Paul, managing director of J10 Planning, said: “The right decision has been made. It is a career-defining project for all who have been involved, one that the whole team is rightly proud of.”
Lady Rona Delves Broughton, the owner of Doddington Hall, said: “I am grateful to the inspector for upholding the appeal and to my fantastic team for the hard work done over many years.
“It is with considerable relief that this decision means that the hall and associated heritage buildings can now be restored and put to use.”
Doddington Hall sits within 800 acres of parkland, and was designed by Samuel Wyatt and built in 1780.
A firm to build the homes has not yet been appointed.