Northampton

Northamptonshire's Overstone Hall restoration suffers setback

Overstone Hall
Image caption Overstone Hall had 119 rooms but has been derelict since a fire

The restoration of a fire-damaged grade-II listed stately home has been dealt a blow, after a proposal to turn it into homes was rejected.

The developer Barry Howard planned to turn Overstone Hall into apartments with 52 houses in the parkland.

But Daventry District Council wanted more assurances the housing development would pay for the restoration work.

Campaigners who want to keep the site near Northampton as "a living ruin" were pleased with decision.

Even though Daventry District Council turned down the houses it approved plans for the restoration of the hall.

Image caption The site is fenced off and inaccessible to local residents

Mr Howard said he had "no problem with the decision" and it was "fantastic" the plans for the hall were approved.

He did not reveal the cost of restoring the hall, but said it needed "significant money" and would take two and a half years to be brought back to life.

"This is the biggest [restoration] we've taken on in 30 years," he added.

'Picnics'

Nick Barber, from the campaign group Overstone Ruined, said the hall should be kept as a ruin and put back in the "public domain so the people of Overstone can enjoy the surrounding park and countryside".

Ann Sharp from Overstone Parish Council said they wanted to make the land safe again "for kids to rid their bikes on and families to have picnics".

Mr Howard said he would now find "alternative sites for new homes" to raise the money for the restoration.

Commissioned by Lady Overstone in 1860, she died before it was finished and apparently her husband hated all 119 rooms.

It then became a school, then the headquarters of a Pentecostal church, but it has been derelict since a huge fire in April 2001.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption National Trust property Lyveden New Bield in east Northamptonshire is an example of a living ruin

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