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Wedding plans for Longsdon historic family hall

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: March 14, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Dunwood Hall.

Dunwood Hall.

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A GRADE II listed hall on the outskirts of Leek could become available as a venue for weddings and other family events if given the green light by planners.

A planning application has been submitted to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council for the change of use from residential to a mixed use of residential, wedding venue and family events including christenings and birthday parties at Dunwood Hall, Longsdon.

In a planning statement to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, chartered town planner Michael Sutcliffe, said: "The property was purchased by the applicant's grandparents in 1963 and has been the venue for many social and charitable events. In the last decade the applicant's late mother ran a small business, hosting among other things, wedding receptions, birthday parties and wine tasting.

"These numbered less than 12 events a year, with the use as the family home being first and foremost; something the family wish to maintain. It is however, a reality that the current family owners, three generations, have inherited a property with a weighty backlog of repair and maintenance. It is intended that this additional income stream will help fund the necessary repair and upkeep of this important Grade II listed property.

"No operational development is required or proposed and no alterations or demolitions are required to the listed buildings and their setting."

It is proposed that the non-residential events would number no more than 28 a year with a maximum number of guests no greater than 120.

The new use would be confined to the ground floor reception rooms with no access to the upper floors and no overnight accommodation.

The second part of the change of use would be the creation of a car park with a capacity for 45 vehicles.

Mr Sutcliffe added: "The area concerned is on a field adjacent to the drive outside the domestic curtilage. It is made ground, created from pottery waste formerly used as a riding arena and since abandoned. Because of its form and base material it is free draining and grass covered almost indistinguishable from the adjacent grazed area."

In a business case for Dunwood Hall, submitted with the application it states: "Over its history Dunwood Hall has sustained empty periods where parts have deteriorated, and though well loved by its owners since 1960s has been cared for with a small amount of money/income. Therefore areas such as the roof and windows need repair and as little has been done in these areas over the last few decades, these costs have added up."

Figures show that roof repairs over the house and stable block would cost £200,000; windows £90,000; re-pointing of external structure £100,00; upgrading heating system £85,000; structural work to the gables and tower £40,000 and replacement of plaster work £7,000. Woodwork which has suffered from dry rot and internal door restoration along with painting and decorating would cost a further £17,000.

Twenty three letters of support have been received from people and businesses who state the proposal would cerate more employment and help businesses in the area. It is expected a decision of the application will be made within the next eight to 12 weeks.

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