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Plans for wellbeing centre at Caverswall Castle

By Cheadle Post and Times  |  Posted: March 12, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

The Grade I Listed Caverswall Castle where plans have been submitted for a wellbeing centre.

The Grade I Listed Caverswall Castle where plans have been submitted for a wellbeing centre.

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A planning application has been submitted for a change of use of a Grade I listed Staffordshire Moorlands castle.

Permission has been sought from Staffordshire Moorlands District Council for the change of use of Caverswall Castle by owner Robin MacDonald.

Last month the historical castle owner pleaded guilty to six counts of breaching an enforcement notice when he allowed Caverswall Castle to host weddings and corporate events.

The 42-year-old is now awaiting sentencing from the court.

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The latest application involves changing the use of the castle from residential to residential and a wellbeing retreat centre with guest accommodation and associated parking.

The application also seeks the demolition of existing swimming pool enclosure and replacement with a covered parking area, providing garaging for the dwelling house and retreat with adjacent parking.

The Grade I listed building was completed in the early 17the century by Mathew Cradock, mayor of Stafford.

A design and access statement submitted with the application said: "Since 1933, a period of 80 years, the building has either been institutional or supported by some form of commercial backing.

"The building as it currently stands has 20 bedrooms and therefore the potential of at least 36 occupants, which is considerably larger than the maximum of 10 bedrooms that the residential market demands for a large house.

"Caverswall Castle is a Grade I Listed Building and as such represents approximately just two per cent of all listed buildings.

"In order to provide a sustainable future for this building, which clearly exists in uncertain circumstances, some compromise will have to have taken by those around it, to reinstate what is the principle heritage of the village.

"Where planning policy can help sustain this important heritage asset, it should do."

The domestic use would include all the castle accommodation where the applicant may bring in members of his wider family to take advantage of the space available.

The statement adds: "As this is the accepted use as acknowledged by the Local Planning Authority this does not need to be justified. Clearly the extent of the existing building allows for far greater numbers of people to be involved."

The wellbeing use would co-exist with the domestic use and would be available as such for no more than six months of the every year.

The timing of use would be related to specific bookings.

The statement adds: "Only one member of staff would be fully residential, to take care of health and safety in emergency, while the remainder of the staff would be daily and part time.

"These would include one fitness trainer, consultant, chef, two kitchen assistants, two cleaners, a maintenance assistant and two management/reception.

"The residential use would be run by two part time cleaners, two part time gardeners and one full time maintenance member of staff.

"Guests to the wellbeing centre would arrive on Sunday at 3pm and depart the following Saturday at 1pm with six nights accommodation.

"This would be a residential retreat, not open to the public for day visitors."

A decision on the application is expected within the eight and 12 weeks.

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