Council to start drafting planning document for 'preferred approach' to restoration of Overstone Hall

Overstone Hall was heavily damaged in a 2001 fire
Overstone Hall was heavily damaged in a 2001 fire

Daventry District Council will continue to support the restoration of Overstone Hall through enabling development, as long as it is of a ‘justified scale and nature’.

The grade II listed manor was extensively damaged in a 2001 fire, and the council has since attempted to protect the building and restore it to a ‘productive’ use.

It is now set to prepare a supplementary planning document (SPD) to help shape its ideal outcome for the restoration of the hall.

The decision to progress with the SPD was taken by councillors at the authority’s strategy meeting on Thursday evening (March 7).

It is expected that the SPD would outline what is important about the Hall and its setting and parkland, the main options for the future of Overstone Hall, and any important characteristics that should be respected in any replacement building.

Council papers say: “Restoring the hall has been a policy objective of the council since 2013, and the fact that this has not yet been achieved does not reflect a lack of effort or attention, but rather the complex and intractable nature of the issue.

“The council is now at a position where it would be particularly useful to set out its preferred approach going forward. This should help provide the owner, any prospective owner, and all other affected parties with clarity about what is, and is not, likely to be considered justified and appropriate in relation to the hall, including in particular what scale and type of enabling development might be acceptable without identifying specific locations.”

It comes as the council is set to hear two live planning applications regarding the Hall, which was sold by The New Testament Church of God to Barry Howard Homes in December 2016.

The new owners applied for planning permission and listed building consent in May 2018 to restore the Hall and convert it into 16 flats. It also applied for planning permission for around 60 houses on land just south of Overstone village, as enabling development. It would fund the estimated £20million costs of refurbishing the Hall.

The application for the hall restoration came before the council’s planning committee on January 30, but councillors decided to defer the scheme so it could receive further information on the degree to which the existing fabric of the Hall could be retained. Councillors also wanted to determined the enabling development application alongside the Hall application.

The council says work would cease on preparing the SPD if it became evident it was not going to be needed during the planning process.