Incredible plans to turn historic 17th century hunting lodge on outskirts of Harrogate into multi-million pound home

The Dob Park Lodge ruins could be turned into a new three-bedroom home worth millions.
The Dob Park Lodge ruins could be turned into a new three-bedroom home worth millions.

A rare 17th century lodge, once used as a viewing platform for deer hunting by local gentry, could soon be transformed into a three-bedroom home worth millions.

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A proposal to repair and convert the historic Dob Park Lodge ruin near Otley into a residential dwelling is recommended for approval when it fronts Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee on December 18.

The property first came into the hands of the Vavasour family in 1532, according to estate manager and applicant Paul Elgar of Rural Estate Management.

It has since remained in the family’s hands , with current owner Andrew Vavasour a direct descendent.

Mr Elgar said that Mr Vavasour, a London-based airline pilot, plans on making the converted building his principal residence.

Originally built early in the 17th century, Mr Elgar said the lodge would have been used as a viewing platform for deer hunting in the 1600s.

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The type of park is usually referred to as a country house park and formed an intermediate stage in development between the medieval deer park and the later landscape park – meaning the rare ruins are “one of probably four or five” left in the country, according to Mr Elgar.

He added that the lodge was a sign of status during the 17th century.

“Whereas nowadays people might buy a Land Cruiser which they might not use very much, back then they would have had this,” he said.

“It was a fashion that didn’t last.”

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All that remains of the lodge now are two towers standing at the building’s original three storey height.

Set out as a scheduled monument in 1997, the ruin was stabilised with metal framework in 2011 from a grant aided by Historic England.

The application has their support, with the history protection body stating the adaptive reuse of the ruined structure presented the only viable sustainable long-term solution to preserving it.

However, the Area Of Natural Beauty joint advisory committee objected to the proposal, arguing that the construction would substantially harm the visual and historical aspects of the moorland.

It’s a concession that council officers seem to agree with, summarising that the case was a finely balanced one given the inevitable impact upon the landscape arising from the proposals.

However, on balance, officers considered that planning permission should be granted to ensure the lodge would be preserved in some form.

Lachlan Leeming , Local Democracy Reporting Service