Owner of Chesterfield listed building 'surprised' by planning breach claims as he bids to create a 'baby Chatsworth'
The owner of an historic Chesterfield building has denied breaching planning laws and says he hopes the property can become a ‘baby Chatsworth’.
Chesterfield and District Civic Society has written to Derbyshire County Council’s Trading Standards team about changes being made to Dunston Hall.
Society chairman Philip Riden said the owner is making alterations ‘for which he does not have planning permission or listed building consent’, as well as breaching trading standards by advertising the property for civil weddings online.
However, these claims have been denied by the owner of Dunston Hall, which has origins in the 17th Century and is a Grade II listed property.
David Harrison, who bought the hall in December last year, said he wanted to open up the property’s ‘stunning’ interior and grounds covering about four acres for the ‘community to enjoy’.
The civic society’s letter states: “These changes are apparently being made with the intention of using the property as a venue for civil weddings.
"The owner has not applied for, nor been granted, permission to change the use of the property, which until a recent sale was a private residence.
“As far as we can establish, Dunston Hall has not been licensed by Derbyshire County Council as a venue for civil weddings.
"Nonetheless, the owner is advertising the property as such a venue on a website.”
Mr Harrison says he is surprised by the claims as he insists he has gone ‘above and beyond’ to secure the correction permissions for his plans for Dunston Hall.
"In most cases, up and down the country, what we are trying to achieve here requires no change of status,” he said.
"However, we have applied for listed building consent for the changes and have been in dialogue with various organisations about that.
"I also cannot see how we are breaching trading standards. Our hope here is to rent out Dunston Hall and allow people to enjoy its stunning interior and gardens once more.
"For however long people wish to rent it, and whether that be for a wedding, party of whatever, they can be lord and lady.
"It has not been seen by the public in 20 to 30 years and I think it will be wonderful.