Large-Scale Extension to Listed Country House Hotel in the Green Belt

Restorations and Extensions to 'at risk' heritage asset
JWPC successfully gained both planning and listed building permission for a major development at the award-winning hotel Stanley House, near Blackburn, following extensive complex negotiations with planning officers and Historic England.

JWPC had previously assisted the owners to secure planning permission to convert the listed Jacobean manor house into a hotel in 2003, when Stanley House was regarded as an important building ‘at risk’ on the Historic England Register. The sensitive restoration of its severely derelict structure was a major challenge in itself.

Following completion, Stanley House quickly became recognised as one of the country’s leading country house hotels and was voted ‘Top Small Hotel in England’ by Visit England in 2007.

Enabling Development in the Green Belt
The hotel’s rapid success, together with the need to balance the facilities on offer, created the need to substantially improve and diversify the existing accommodation, with 38 new bedrooms, a health spa, brasserie and new reception. This was a major challenge for the applicants and their professional team, not only because of the need to preserve the setting of the listed building but also because it lay within the Green Belt. Historic building ‘enabling development’ principles were also taken into consideration.

A full viability appraisal justified the ‘very special circumstances’ which applied in the Green Belt, with due regard paid to landscape impact. Through complex negotiations with planners at the local authority, and with the support of Historic England, the scheme was eventually endorsed by Ribble Valley Borough Council. The proposal was then referred up to the Government as it represented a ‘Departure’ from policies which normally apply to the Green Belt, before it was given final approval.

This major project amounts to some 6,000 sqm of additional leisure floor space within the Green Belt and represents a major step forward in sustaining the hotel’s future as one of the county’s leading country house and health spa destinations.

Let’s work together