Plans to fund the conservation of a Grade I Listed castle by ploughing revenue from running it as a hotel into essential repairs have stalled. Entrepreneur Robin MacDonald and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council are stuck at an ‘impasse’ after receivers failed to complete a Unilateral Undertaking that would guarantee investment in protecting Caverswall Castle.
Plans to fund the conservation of a Grade I Listed castle by ploughing revenue from running it as a hotel into essential repairs have stalled.
Entrepreneur Robin MacDonald and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council are stuck at an ‘impasse’ after receivers failed to complete a Unilateral Undertaking that would guarantee investment in protecting Caverswall Castle.
In December 2017, SMDC agreed to approve an application for change of use to a hotel with demolition of the swimming pool building to make way for a car park.
Parking was an essential element of making the hotel use viable, which was necessary to ensure protection of Caverswall Castle as a heritage asset.
When receivers were called in, they were then required to sign up to a Unilateral Undertaking agreed by Mr MacDonald and SMDC that the aim of the business was to fund repairs of the castle and that the investment would form part of the planning conditions.
SMDC’s planning applications committee are set to review the application at a meeting tomorrow (Thursday, October 22). In a report they said: “Although a satisfactory Unilateral Undertaking was subsequently agreed with the applicant, unfortunately it remains unsigned. The council’s solicitor has confirmed that receivers were appointed for the owner, Robin McDonald, who are now required to be a party to the Unilateral Undertaking.
“The latest correspondence on file from August 2019 returned a revised draft to the receivers solicitor removing two of the charges (a third had already gone into possession of the site), but adding in an obligation for the owner to ensure that prior to commencement of development anyone with an interest in the land entered into a Section 106 agreement to comply with the Unilateral Undertaking.
“The Council’s solicitor has confirmed that there has been no correspondence since then.
“This has resulted in an impasse because in the absence of a completed and signed Unilateral Undertaking planning permission cannot be issued.”
Planning officers have recommended the application be refused, although an application for Listed building consent for alterations and an extension to an outbuilding was recommended for approval.
Plans for the change of use of Grade I Listed castle to permit hotel use, meeting lecture venue, demolition of swimming pool building, creation of car park, alteration and extension of existing outbuilding to provide covered parking and an estate workshop; along with listed building consent for removal of existing swimming pool and alterations and extension to outbuilding; are set to be decided by the SMDC Planning Committee at their next meeting today (Thursday, October 22).
Castle plans up for council decision
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