Planners approve scheme to save historic hall

Preservation: Councillors have agreed plans to restore historic Firbeck Hall
Preservation: Councillors have agreed plans to restore historic Firbeck Hall
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Plans to save Rotherham’s deteriorating Firbeck Hall – which has been unused since the mid-1990s – have been approved by councillors, but the Government now has 28 days when it could ‘call in’ the development for scrutiny because of it’s scale in a green belt location.

Plans to save Rotherham’s deteriorating Firbeck Hall – which has been unused since the mid-1990s – have been approved by councillors, but the Government now has 28 days when it could ‘call in’ the development for scrutiny because of it’s scale in a green belt location.

If it goes ahead, the centuries old hall and stables, both Listed buildings, will be converted into apartments with new build housing elsewhere on the site.

Because that development will cover more than 1,000 square metres, the Government automatically has a right to ‘call in’ the application, though councillors have been told that would be unlikely.

Homes in the complex are expected to start at £200,000 if it goes ahead, with profits from the new build homes effectively bank-rolling the restoration of the historic buildings in a project which would take around £11m in total to complete.

Coun Bob Walsh told the planning board meeting which approved the scheme: “This appears to be the best compromise we are going to get. It is an important building and much loved.

“It needs to be able to earn its keep in the future. It is the ‘least worst’ option, a viable one.”

Firbeck Parish Council are now planning to open a dialogue with the developers behind the project, in the hope of getting a footpath opened up in the grounds of the hall, in the village of Firbeck, which is close to the Rotherham boundary with Nottinghamshire.

The hall dates from the 16th Century and was turned over to use as a country club in the early part of last century, before being taken over as a hospital during WW2 and remaining in the health service until its closure.

Modern buildings on site, dating from its use as a hospital, would be demolished to be replaced by the new housing, which would increase buildings on the site by around 20 per cent.

The meeting was told the hall is now in a very poor state of repair, with one gable collapsing in recent weeks.

Firbeck Parish Council supported the plans, though had some concerns about details of the scheme.