Planning enforcement action considered over plans to transform Marske Hall stables in the Yorkshire Dales into a 'party house'

Planning enforcement officers are being urged to crack down over changes to a historic stables which has been linked to 95 per cent of the world’s thoroughbred racehorses, amid claims it is being transformed into a “party house”.

Marske and New Forest Parish Council has complained to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority over potential planning breaches at the quadrangular Grade II-listed Marske Hall Stables, the birthplace of 18th-century stallion Marske, whose descendants include Kauto Star and Desert Orchid.

Parish council chairman Nigel Philips said while planning consent had been granted to convert the building in the 19-acre grounds of Marske Hall into holiday accommodation, a number of the Swaledale village’s residents were concerned over how owner Ian Morton planned to use the building following building works.

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The complaint, to be considered by the park authority next Tuesday, comes after Mr Morton’s plan to transform the hall into an exclusive wedding venue and aparthotel was rejected in February over its long-term impact on the listed buildings and the village’s tranquillity.

Marske Hall in Swaledale

The parish’s initial complaint over the siting of two oil storage tanks has been followed by further concerns from residents over the loss of car parking spaces, the unauthorised use of the stables as a party venue, the creation of internal doorways and the loss of a community facility.

Coun Phillips said: “It’s more the concern over where this development will go.”

A park authority officer’s report stated a visit to the stables had revealed no new internal doorways had been created, but several doorways that were shown to be blocked up on the approved plans had had double doors fitted “in order to meet fire safety regulations”.

It added the area designated as a community facility was not being converted into a holiday apartment.

It adds Mr Morton has confirmed he would submit retrospective planning and listed building consent applications for the unauthorised works, including details of revised car parking.

The report states: “The main concern of local residents is that the property will be used as a single unit ‘party house’ by large groups of people which will generate noise and other problems. Until it is used a judgement as to whether it is being used for the permitted purposes cannot be made, despite allusions to parties etc in the marketing information.”

Planning officers have recommended that they monitor the building’s use, saying as the had yet to open, it would not be “expedient to pursue enforcement action at the current time”.

Mr Morton was unavailable for comment.

Marske Hall’s rich history

It is believed the estate, which is on the market at £2.5m, was originally given by William the Conqueror to the Constable of Richmond Castle as a hunting chase.

It was bought in 1596 by the then Archbishop of York, Matthew Hutton, whose son Sir Timothy Hutton, High Sheriff of Yorkshire, started work on the hall.

Subsequent family members made extended the hall, including John Hutton II, who added a quadrangular stable block.

He was an enthusiastic horse breeder whose stallion, Marske, sired the legendary undefeated chestnut colt Eclipse in 1764, which is generally regarded as the origin of contemporary bloodstock.

The hall was used by shooting parties through the 19th century, although a later John Hutton may have lived there while he founded one of the north’s first banks, the Richmond and Swaledale, in 1804, which was eventually bought by Barclay and Company.