Controversial plans to turn Marske Hall into an exclusive wedding venue and aparthotel have been referred to the Secretary of State.
The application for the historic Swaledale property was refused in February last year amid concerns it would irreversibly harm the listed buildings and shatter the tranquillity of a Yorkshire Dales village.
The applicants have now appealed the decision, made by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, and the Planning Inspectorate, on behalf of the Secretary of State, will made a decision on whether the redevelopment can go-ahead.
The plans would see the hall converted from 10 apartments into an “aparthotel” with 20 suites.
The basement would also be redeveloped to include a gym, sauna, shop, bar and tasting rooms.
The kennels and sawmill would become events spaces, while a new outbuilding would be built to house an electricity sub-station.
Car parking spaces would also be created.
The park authority planning committee rejected the plans last year after hearing from officers that the most harmful aspect of the plan would be the wedding venue as it would involve the demolition of internal walls and the removal of a large area of woodland to create car parking.
In addition, planning officers described the impact of guests arriving and leaving and of amplified music on the hall’s neighbours as “catastrophic” and said it would ruin the village’s peace.
The committee heard if all the buildings were occupied it would mean 147 people on the site, excluding staff, but the scheme provided some 33 fewer car parking spaces than were needed.
Developer Ian Morton argued that creating an upmarket venue for various events to pull visitors into the area and create jobs would be “a huge boon for the region”.
But planning officers said the extra jobs and tourism provision would not outweigh what amounted to a “gross overdevelopment of a historic site in a very rural and special landscape”.
The appeal documents state that the plans should be allowed, with agents for the developer stating that it had already been agreed the venue’s events spaces would shut at 11pm.
The documents add: “Substantial off-road parking is available for each of the buildings / uses at the site.
“The parking provided at the site ensures sufficient capacity is provided to make sure that no on-road parking will occur.
“This car parking will be appropriately managed by barrier controls, so the development is self-contained and does not impact on highway or pedestrian safety for the community or those walking on nearby.”
For more information on the appeal click here.