Restoration plan for mansion
Fresh plans to convert and restore a Georgian mansion ravaged by vandals and thieves are set to be approved.
The scheme to renovate Scraptoft Hall has been recommended for approval by Harborough District Council's planning committee, despite the concerns of a County Hall conservation expert.
For the past six years, the grade-II listed building, parts of which date back to the 17th century, has been the target of attacks.
Now the owners have submitted plans to restore the hall to its former glory while converting it into eight apartments.
An additional home will be constructed in a converted outbuilding
AMK Developments also wants to knock down some listed outbuildings and build nine homes in the grounds near the hall.
Peter Elliott, of Scraptoft Parish Council, said: "We are pleased the scheme has been recommended for approval.
"We are puzzled by the concerns from the County Hall historic buildings officer. They are very minor in the scheme of things.
"We have been waiting for the hall to be restored for some time and we hope this scheme will go ahead as soon as possible.
"The hall had been plagued by vandalism and theft although that problem has been combated in recent months."
The redevelopment plan is the latest in a number of proposals which have not gone ahead.
However, the project has been criticised by County Hall historic buildings officer John Sharpe in a report to the council.
He wrote: "It should be remembered that previously agreed but unimplemented schemes have promised similar beneficial results.
"Each time your council is asked to compromise part of the irreplaceable built heritage of the site, a new base line is set from which future proposals are judged."
Commenting on the demolition of the outbuilding, Mr Sharpe said: "I am unconvinced the existing structure cannot be repaired."
He also criticised the siting of a new home adjoining the hall, describing its siting and design as "awkward".
Three residents have lodged objections over the siting of the new homes.
One woman feared she would be "overlooked".
However, a key element of the revised project is to restore the 18th century character of the building including restoring the pitched roof and installing chimney stacks.
The project has been drawn up by Nottingham-based architect Mark Stewart.
If granted permission, it would supercede original plans that included retirement homes which was put forward more than five years ago.
Mr Stewart told the council "the walls and principal roof structures are all sound and capable of conversion to residential use without any significant rebuilding".
Harborough District Council's planning committee has been recommended to approve the plan at its meeting at the Three Swans Hotel in Market Harborough on Tuesday.