Plans to fully restore a derelict 17th century mansion with a colourful history which has become an “eyesore” in heart of Richmond have been heralded.
Richmond Civic Society and leading community figures in the town have thrown their weight behind a proposal to give 285sq m Craddock Hall, on Frenchgate, a major overhaul, making internal and external alterations to the grade II listed property to create a five-bedroom family home.
The support for the plans comes ahead of national heritage experts and Richmondshire District Council’s officers charged with protecting heritage considering the impact of the major revamp on the building, listed properties nearby and the town’s conservation area, which draws large numbers of tourists.
Although the derelict building is among numerous listed properties in Richmond, it is regarded as being among those with the most historic interest, partly due to the colourful lives of its former residents.
The papers state Craddock Hall was built in 1660 by Joseph Craddock, the son of a clergyman “who made many enemies”, leading to his arrest mid-service in Durham Cathedral.
Joseph became the first Commissary of the Archdeaconry of Richmond in 1636 and was elected MP for Richmond in 1661, but was unseated a year later as ordained ministers were disqualified from standing for Parliament.
As part of the restoration project developers have discovered records from the 1673 Hearth Tax show only five homes in Richmond had more than ten hearths and Craddock Hall was the largest property with an astounding 20 hearths.
His daughter, Peregrina, and her MP husband moved there in 1686 before the hall was remodeled in the mid-18th century.
The planning documents, which includes a study to assess its historic significance, state: “Craddock Hall is illustrative of 18th century development in Richmond at a time of great wealth and modernisationcreating a high status property with fashionable Georgian features occupying a plot with long range views across the town and wider countryside setting.
“It also illustrates the way in which a former building was adapted during this
time to present a building of high status on public elevations and retaining
the old fabric to the sides where they are less visible.
“The high status of this building reflected Joseph Craddock’s position in society as well as his aspirations which no doubt influenced the success of his son Thomas in government.
Planning documents lodged with the council state it is proposed to restore historic features where they exist and create new elements, such as a bay window at the rear, where there would be “minimal impact upon significance”.
The papers state the restoration, which will reintroduce features such as the original fenestration pattern, will involve a significant investment.
Richmond Civic Society has written to the authority to “commend the applicant on this restoration of a very significant building”.
Others supporting the plan include Councillor Clive World, who has served on Richmond Town Council for 31 years. He said: “I’m all in favour of this development. This has been an eyesore for far too many years. If you are coming up Station Road you can’t miss it.
“It’s not been a good advert for Richmond, especially when you have got the beautiful property next door. I hope as many of the original features can be kept. There are plenty of people in need of homes and this one has been empty for far too long. “