CONSERVATIONISTS have won their battle to prevent the grounds of a Grade I listed building in Beverley being partially dug up and turned into a car park.
Developers want to convert Norwood House into seven self-contained office suites, with a landscaped garden and parking spaces for 26 vehicles at the rear.
East Riding Council's eastern area planning sub-committee decided to reject the scheme yesterday.
The applicant, Brantingham Group, said the project would provide much needed restoration for neglected buildings and prevent them falling into further disrepair.
But conservationists opposed the development at the historic building, which has been described as one of the most important Georgian buildings in the country.
The Georgian Group said the creation of the seven office units entailed "quite intensive car parking at the rear, with one bay almost abutting the garden elevation of the 1820s library".
They added: "In our view, this level of intrusion into the setting is unacceptable."
The group said the rear garden – which was once well manicured and used by the girls at the school – should now be returned to lawn.
The developer had submitted revised plans for the scheme, but a report to the committee described the proposed small garden as "tokenistic".
The building, built in 1760 for lawyer and three-time Mayor of Beverley, Jonathan Midgley, is said to need millions of pounds' worth of restoration work.
It changed hands several times before being bought by the council to accommodate Beverley High School for Girls. The council sold it to the developers last year, to the disappointment of campaigners who wanted to turn it into a museum and community facility.