Marske Hall: Developer who has put historic Yorkshire Dales estate up for sale for the first time since the 1950s hits out at 'locals and councillors'

A developer who has put an historic Georgian hall and estate in the Yorkshire Dales up for sale after he was refused permission to convert it into a hotel has hit out at ‘locals and councillors’ who objected to his plans.

Ian Morton, who has experience of developing historic buildings, wanted to turn 18th-century Marske Hall, near Richmond, into an aparthotel and wedding venue, but his proposal was rejected by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and their decision was upheld at an appeal before a government inspector.

Mr Morton argued that the Grade II-listed main house needed leisure use to remain viable, and has now put the whole estate on the market for £11million.

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It is the first time the estate has been available in its entirety since the 1950s, when it was broken up after the death of the last of the Hutton family, former Archbishops of York who had lived there since the 1600s. The lot includes the Georgian stable block where famous racehorses were bred, sawmill, cottages, kennels, gardens and grounds totalling 24 acres. The stables have already been converted into holiday lets, and the 10 apartments in the hall, which have been flats since the 1960s, have been renovated.

Marske Hall in Swaledale has a chequered planning historyMarske Hall in Swaledale has a chequered planning history
Marske Hall in Swaledale has a chequered planning history

In a statement provided exclusively to The Yorkshire Post, Mr Morton said: “We have decided to put the whole estate on the market because we truly believe that the locals and councillors are all wrong.

"This estate should be an events venue and create jobs and become a vibrant part of the economy.

"Unfortunately, I'm just a an individual with a vision and feel perhaps fresh ideas and and a new approach could still come in after all the progress we made in the planning appeal. We actually won most of the arguments.

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"I fear for the National Park and lots of the countryside as it will simply become a place for the rich and wealthy.

"The opportunity only remains for a short period to keep the estate together as I wanted and create something that would last for another 400 years.

"If nobody emerges who can keep the estate together for the long term then we will have no alternative but to sell it to individuals as investments with a potential income as holiday lets if they want that option.

"So those that are embedded in the area will get what they wanted.”

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The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority said in response: “We have nothing further to add following the recent verdict of the Government Planning Inspectorate to uphold our original decision.”

The parish council had objected to the scheme over concerns about large-scale events, and favoured a modernisation of the existing flats instead.

The Marske Hall estate is a Georgian landscape, but by the 19th century the male Hutton line had died out and it passed to the D’Arcy Huttons through the marriage of a daughter. They used it mainly as a shooting lodge, hosting extravagant parties there which Mr Morton had argued demonstrated the house’s history of and suitability for entertaining and hospitality.

When the last of the family, John Timothy D’Arcy Hutton, died in 1957, there was an auction of the Marske estate and most of the buildings were purchased in separate lots. The house had been occupied by evacuated Scarborough College pupils during the war years, and was bought by a local builder, George Shaw, who originally planned to demolish it. Instead, he turned it into 10 flats, one of which became his family home. In 2011 his granddaughter Elizabeth sold the house. The stables also had a period of residential use, meaning the stalls for horses were removed, and the upper floor was the village hall for a time.