Appeal over rejected historic derelict lodge plan dismissed by Government inspector

Old Upper Shibden Hall gatehouse, between Boothtown and Queensbury.
Old Upper Shibden Hall gatehouse, between Boothtown and Queensbury.

A GOVERNMENT inspector has upheld a Council’s decision to block a Greenbelt development of a historic building.

Last year the Shibden Estate Company submitted a planning application to Bradford Council calling for the the restoration of the Gatehouse at Upper Shibden Hall, off Halifax Road, on the border with Calderdale.

The plans would have seen a large extension built on the crumbling building, increasing its size by 50 per cent, and converting it into a three-bedroom house.

It would also have included a parking area for two cars.

The building is part of the Upper Shibden Hall site, and is located in Greenbelt.

Planning officers refused the application late last year, saying the proposed extension would be “disproportionate” and “harmful” to the openness of the area.

They also argued that the extension would be beyond the “limited extension” normally allowed in the Greenbelt, adding: “The result is considered to be an inappropriate development within the Greenbelt which is by definition harmful.”

Earlier this year the applicants appealed the decision. They said: “The building is not Listed but clearly has historic merit and as a heritage asset it should be protected for the future.

“The restoration of the original building emphasises the historic character of the building and the extension represents a modern addition to bring the building back into economic use.

“Any scheme does require a reasonable amount of living accommodation to be provided in order to make the restoration viable and the proposal is an extension which is designed to do this without looking disproportionate.”

But the appeal has now been dismissed, with a Government-appointed planning inspector echoing many of the Council’s concerns.

Inspector Alison Partington pointed out that any extension that amounted to more than 30 per cent of the original building size would usually be considered unacceptable for Greenbelt.

She said: “The building is vacant and is in a poor state of repair.

“The two-storey extension would extend over much of the width of the host property, to create three bedrooms on the ground floor and living accommodation on the lower ground level.

“In my opinion, given the modest proportions of the original building, an extension of this size and which would result in this level of increase in volume, can only be considered as a disproportionate addition.

“I therefore consider that the proposal would be inappropriate development, which is harmful to the Greenbelt.

“The proposed development would increase the footprint of the dwelling as well as its scale and mass. As a result, the openness of the Greenbelt would be reduced.

“As an indication of the location of the hall and its estate, the building does have historic merit/interest that adds to the local character and its sense of place. Consequently, the renovation of the original building to enable its re-use is a factor that favours the scheme.

“Irrespective of the proposal’s design merits, no evidence has been provided to show that an extension of this size is essential to make the renovation works viable. Nor that it is essential to create a three- bedroom dwelling in order to provide an adequate level of accommodation.”