The owner of the Cornwall Road mansion Pineheath, the former Harrogate home of the wealthy Indian Bomanji family, has revealed plans to turn the house into 12 luxury apartments.
Businessman Jason Shaw submitted a pre-planning application consultation document to Harrogate council (HBC) after he said surveyors advised him restoring the 1890s house as a single dwelling was not commercially viable.
The house attracted international media interest when Mr Shaw bought it in September 2013, because it appeared frozen in time, with luxury artefacts found exactly as they were in the 1920s.
At the time, Mr Shaw told the Harrogate Advertiser he would restore Pineheath to its former glory.
The owner this week said he hoped to use modern technology to retain the house’s characteristics including its distinctive turret, but conceded there would be an element of rebuilding work involved to bring the crumbling house back to life.
The plans are being monitored by the Duchy Residents Association which wants to see the house facade retained.
Mr Shaw said: “Now Pineheath is not being lived in it is deteriorating fast.
“I stand by what I said at the time, but the problem is its former glory will never be restored if it is considered as a single occupancy. I do not know at this stage how much would be rebuilt, but there will be an element of rebuilding because it is shot.
“The cost to turn it back into a house is in the region of £3m. That means it would have to sell for £4m, and that is not a realistic value for a house on the Duchy in 2014.”
Dr Rosemary Carnaghan of the Association said: “I do accept that the house is in an appalling state, but whether we can justify demolition and 12 flats is something quite different, and I would resist that as far as possible.
“Whether or not the house is restored as it stands now is a moot point. We have written to Mr Shaw to say what we would most like to see is the facade retained.”
English Heritage will visit Pineheath this month as part of a bid to list the site.
Mr Shaw said: “I will work with HBC and English Heritage to decide what is best for Pineheath.
“What I want to do with the consultation is to make Pineheath better, but to keep its characteristics and turret.
“I want to walk past and be proud of what I achieved here in 30 years.
“If Pineheath cannot be turned into apartments, I will have to sell the building but it will not be an art deco house as long as I own it.”