Bridge House Hotel, Catterick: Plan to turn Grade II-listed 17th century coaching inn into homes gets backing from racecourse

A plan to give “a new lease of life” to a landmark 17th century coaching inn which was wrecked in a fire a decade ago has received the backing of a leading racecourse.

James Sanderson, executive director of Catterick Racecourse, has written to North Yorkshire Council to support proposals to convert the Bridge House Hotel, opposite the dual-purposed race track, into nine rental properties.

Developers have lodged several planning applications with the authority since February, including ones to demolish some of the buildings and for consent to carry out extensive work on the grade II listed building, and buildings added during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, such as ballrooms.

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The documents detail the damage the hotel sustained in February 2014, as it was undergoing renovation, how parts of the premises have since collapsed due to water ingress and what parts of the buildings can be restored.

The former Bridge House Hotel at Catterick BridgeThe former Bridge House Hotel at Catterick Bridge
The former Bridge House Hotel at Catterick Bridge

The proposals mark a reversal of fortune for the premises which served travellers on the Great North Road for many years, as the significant cost of restoring the grade II listed hotel building to meet statutory guidelines deterred buyers, leading to it having to be removed from auctions.

However, the planning documents state to fund the “heritage deficit”, the developers are hoping to build an additional five small homes to the east of the site “to meet local housing need”.

The planning documents underline the historic importance of the property beside the River Swale, a crossing point which has been a strategic route since around AD80 when a Roman fort was constructed to guard the crossing of the Roman Dere Street.

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The papers state: “It is envisaged that the restoration of the building and redevelopment of the site will have a considerable environmental enhancement in this very prominent location, bringing a heritage asset back into use to benefit the wider area and provide small-scale accommodation to meet local housing need.

“The heritage value of the site relates primarily to its historic and architectural interest as a 17th century coaching inn with various additions and alterations over the following centuries which has fallen into decline over the last two decades, particularly following a fire and subsequent water ingress and vandalism.

“The change of use to residential is considered a long-term viable option which will result in a heritage deficit to be clawed back over time.”

Responding to the proposals, Mr Sanderson wrote that “the directors of Catterick Racecourse are absolutely delighted that somebody is taking this wonderful old building on and proposing to give it a new lease of life”.

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He added that “Catterick Racecourse is wholly supportive of the concept”, before requesting if planning consent is granted, no external building works be permitted during Catterick’s 27 annual race meetings for safety reasons.

Mr Sanderson wrote: “Unfortunately racehorses are spooked by the simplest of things and they obviously need to go to and fro the racecourse stables adjacent to the Bridge House site and then parade/gather before each race literally the other side of Leeming Lane from Bridge House….”

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