Historic Swaledale hall developer’s hope to work with residents

Marske Hall. Photo: David Rodgers.

A developer whose plan to create a sustainable future for listed buildings on an historic Yorkshire Dales estate has been dismissed by a government planning inspector after a long-running planning wrangle has underlined his hope to work alongside local residents.

Ian Morton, whose appeal over launching a luxury aparthotel and wedding venue at 17,000sq ft Marske Hall, in Marske, near Richmond, was rejected at appeal last month, said his ambition to breathe a new lease of life into the estate was “still very much alive”.

The appeal decision came more than two years after the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority refused the proposal following an outcry among residents in the village over the potential disturbance the scores of guests at Marske Hall would cause.

Mr Morton had argued the hall had a long history of hosting events, such as shooting parties, and highlighted the proposed venue could provide an important facility for local residents and visitors.

The estate is best known as being the one-time home of Marske, a stallion linked to 95 per cent of the world’s thoroughbreds.

Responding to the appeal decision, Mr Morton said when he took on Marske Hall his main aim had been to involve residents and councillors in the process of finding a way to bring derelict buildings back to a sustainable future and to bring employment with a new found energy and purpose for the area.

He said despite Marske Hall, Sawmill and Stables having been derelict for anything from 20 to 70 years and a potential £5m investment to date no one had helped him in any way to find a solution.

He said instead councillors voted not to speak to him at an official meeting after previously trying to stop the stables development opening.

Mr Morton said: “We have only met hostility and negativity during the last 4 years. I’m totally amazed that I’ve been treated like this, as someone who is investing a lot of his own money and simply wants a sustainable future for this beautiful country estate.

“I really care about Markse, the village, the surrounding location and these buildings which could have easily been lost. We have already added great designs and fresh ideas and actually won awards for Marske Stables. As a true Yorkshireman, I will certainly continue to develop the buildings and create something special for future generations.”

“It’s such a shame that no locals or politicians worked alongside us to reach an agreement on how we sustain the hall for future generations with our investment of £5m.

“Hopefully some communication will now be made to create a positive outcome for all. Our next step is to look at another application based on the officers comments. The journey to revitalise this hall and breathe a new lease of life in to the estate is still very much alive.

“I hope we can now  put the past behind us. I’m completely open to any positive help or guidance that anyone can give us.”


  1. I couldn’t but compare the situation with the ‘Clarkson’s Farm’ scenario. More local employment, improvement to the buildings, seems very positive. Shame about the village idiots.

    • Aye well lad those folk up in them villages don’t like change they are stuck in the same old same old routine and change frightens them. They can’t see the bigger picture, would they just prefer the hall to collapse in on its self and slowly become an eyesore , if they think positively instead of negatively as they are the people who are saying there’s no work or housing for the young ones and they are having to move away from their homes to find work. More employment means more chance of local affordable housing for local people and to keep their loved ones closer. For me leaving broke my heart as the dales were where I was brought up and loved and loved the people who lived there. But things must change for the sake of the dales young now, more employment is needed and Marske Hall can and will provide employment to locals and stability to help them remain where they call home. Change is happening and it’s something we have to accept and tolerate.

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