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Temporary 18 months limit for Dunwood Hall plans

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: May 11, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Dunwood Hall, which has been granted temporary permission for 18 months to hold family events.

Dunwood Hall, which has been granted temporary permission for 18 months to hold family events.

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THE owner of a Grade 11-listed building has been given the go-ahead to stage family events at the premises for a temporary period of 18 months.

Permission has been granted by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council's planning applications committee for the change of use from residential to a mix of residential, weddings and family events, including christenings and birthday parties at Dunwood Hall, Longsdon.

A planning statement by town planner Michael Sutcliffe, said: "In the last decade the applicant's late mother ran a small business hosting, among other things, wedding receptions, birthday parties and wine tastings.

"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.

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"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.

However, at a planning meeting the proposals were met with objections from neighbours.

Speaking to the committee, Barry Doulton said: "I am one of 18 neighbours who are between 200 and 300 metres away.

"The impact has been dismissed. When weddings take place people will seek respite outside and congregate on the patio.

"This will give excessive noise and cause disturbance."

Richard Lovell, who was representing Longsdon Parish Council, said: "This will increase noise for neighbours.

"A farm is just 50 metres away. There will be cars moving and doors opening and closing, which will have major concern on residents.

"We believe it could lead to queuing traffic as the there are just passing places on the access road.

"Forty-five car parking spaces are not sufficient for 120 guests plus photographers and staff.

"Dunwood Hall is not an appropriate place."

Craig Barks, who was representing another neighbour, said there was a worry about music from events, and that Dunwood Hall was an unacceptable location.

District councillor for the area Norman Hawkins told the committee: "I share the concerns of neighbours. This raises more questions than answers. A wedding is not just a one day event there is activity the day before and the day after.

"This is a late Victorian property not connect to mains drains. Will new drainage be installed? The site is also out of the village boundary."

Applicant Delphine Lovatt said the family had been at Dunwood Hall since 1963.

She said: "It is my generation's turn to look after Dunwood Hall.

"Some events have taken place without any complaints.

"With 28 days of events we can have an income and people can enjoy the building.

"I know we can do this and also attract employment. We can also share the building with the public."

The committee approved the change of use for 18 months, which would start from the day of the first held event. The site would be monitored by the council over this period.

This would allow the applicant to demonstrate that the proposal can work and allow the council to take appropriate action it deemed necessary.

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