Plans to turn historic Harrogate hunting lodge into multi-million pound home are deferred

Plans to turn the Harrogate ruins into a home have been deferred.
Plans to turn the Harrogate ruins into a home have been deferred.

A decision on converting a 400-year-old ruin into a family home has been deferred so councillors can get a first-hand look at the historic hunting lodge’s picturesque surroundings.

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The proposal to repair and convert the historic Dob Park Lodge ruin near Otley was recommended for approval when it fronted Harrogate Borough Council’s planning committee this week.

The application is on behalf of property owner Andrew Vavasour, a direct descendent of the family who first acquired the property in 1532.

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

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

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All that remains of the building now are two towers, with the decaying structure stabilised with metal framework in 2011 from a grant aided by Historic England.

Councillors were told ahead of the debate by an agent representing Mr Vavasour that converting the ruins into a home was its best chance at preservation.

The proposal has widespread support, including from Historic England, however the Area Of Natural Beauty joint advisory committee objected to it, arguing that the construction would substantially harm the visual and historical aspects of the moorland.

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After a short period of debate, Conservative Councillor Nigel Simms said he would like to move a deferral so that councillors could see what impact it would have on the surrounding area.

“I would like to move a deferral…so we can see how much it impacts on the landscape, and then make a decision,” he said.

The motion was unanimously agreed on, with the matter to return to the council in the new year.

Lachlan Leeming , Local Democracy Reporting Service