The Inn Collection Group, which bought the 18,500 square foot Grade II-listed building on Northallerton High Street last year, have submitted plans to Hambleton District Council to retain and restore many of its heritage features following concerns being raised by conservationists.
The premises was sold by former Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan with services relocating to a new local police station based at North Yorkshire Police’s headquarters at Alverton Court, and custody services moving principally to Harrogate Police Station as part of a drive to save £2.5 million over five years.
The council approved plans to convert the building, which has previously been used as a mansion, public library and council offices, into the Northallerton Inn, after hearing the firm planned to create up to 50 full and part-time jobs with the venture.
The initial plans drew an objection from the Georgian Group, which claimed “considerable works of demolition” were proposed, including the loss of the fine principal staircase and large sections of the internal walls.
The conservation body stated the works “would collectively cause a high level of harm to the historic fabric and significance of the listed building”.
It added: “In recent years many companies have proved themselves adept at sensitively converting historic buildings into public houses and restaurants. It is therefore now rare that schemes which involve causing such high levels of harm to the significance of a listed building are put forward for consent.
“The Georgian Group remains to be convinced that this building cannot be converted for the proposed uses without causing a high degree of harm to some of its most architecturally and historically significant internal spaces.
“It is also far from clear that the building would not readily find buyers willing to convert it to other more sensitive uses if placed on the open market.”
Following the concerns, the council attached conditions to the planning consent “to protect the significance of the designated heritage asset.o protect the significance of the designated heritage asset”.
However, documents submitted by the firm highlight how following responses to the original submissions from the council’s conservation officer and Historic England the firm has changed its plans to conserve heritage features, such as the central staircase.
The documents reveal how the firm intends to reinstate the original grand double height entrance area and a plethora of details, such as spending about £15,000 on repairing and reinstating cornices.
Historic England has welcomed the revisions and said it believed a “more sensitive approach” was being taken to the building.