Ap­proval of ap­pli­ca­tion would cre­ate more than 50 new jobs

Leek Post & Times - - PICTURE SPECIAL - By Aimi Red­fern news­[email protected]­p­o­stand­times.co.uk

PLANS have been un­veiled to cre­ate a lux­ury ‘de­con­structed ho­tel,’ spa and wed­ding venue at a North Stafford­shire beauty spot.

The am­bi­tious plans for Con­sall Hall Gar­dens, near Wet­ley Rocks, would see a num­ber of ‘eco-lodges,’ tree houses and shep­herd huts dot­ted around the 70acre site to pro­vide ac­com­mo­da­tion for visi­tors.

Mean­while, ex­ist­ing fea­tures of the gar­dens would be al­tered to cre­ate a barn wed­ding venue, well­be­ing spa, and a bar and restau­rant. It is thought the new re­sort would cre­ate 50 jobs, plus ad­di­tional sea­sonal op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The ven­ture is the brain­child of Ben and Sarah Reeves, who own The Ashes Barns wed­ding venue at En­don, and Wil­liam Scott-mon­crieff, of Bas­ford Hall.

Ben, aged 40, said the in­ten­tion was to en­hance and pre­serve the site. He said: “Over the past few years the gar­dens have de­te­ri­o­rated. We have all lived in the Stafford­shire Moor­lands all our lives and we want to main­tain Con­sall for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.

“We have been work­ing very closely with our ar­chi­tects and Stafford­shire Moor­lands Dis­trict Coun­cil for the past six months, and this week we have started an in-depth con­sul­ta­tion with res­i­dents and the par­ish coun­cil to get their feed­back on the pro­pos­als, prior to putting a plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion in some time dur­ing De­cem­ber.”

The gar­dens were de­signed and cre­ated by the hall’s for­mer owner Wil­liam Pod­more OBE, who died in March.

Un­der the pro­pos­als, Con­sall Hall’s ex­ist­ing Doric col­umn por­tico would be pre­served and form the main en­trance to a ‘guest hub,’ while the for­mer ‘gen­tle­man’s coun­try house’ would be re­mod­elled to cre­ate a bar and restau­rant, which would be open to the pub­lic as well as guests.

The Lady Park Gar­den folly at the south end of the gar­dens would be ex­tended and trans­formed into a spa fa­cil­ity with plunge pool and treat­ment rooms.

Mean­while, Con­sall Hall’s ex­ist­ing wed­ding fa­cil­ity would be re­placed with a new pur­pose-built, sin­gle-story, ‘hor­ti­cul­tur­ally-in­spired’ barn wed­ding venue, and the es­tate’s orig­i­nal walled gar­den re­stored.

The pro­pos­als state that the im­pact of the de­vel­op­ment on the area’s land­scape will be min­i­mal, and steps are be­ing taken to pro­tect the gar­dens’ ‘high eco­log­i­cal value.’

Mr Scott-mon­crieff, aged 26, said: “Wil­liam Pod­more spent 50 years on the gar­dens and they are un­be­liev­able. They need some­one to take them for­ward, and with­out a pro­ject like this it’s just not sus­tain­able.

“I think this would be a re­ally good use of the gar­dens to bring peo­ple into the Stafford­shire Moor­lands and to cre­ate jobs.”

An artist’s im­pres­sion of the pro­posed re­de­vel­op­ment of Con­sall Hall Gar­dens.

More artist’s im­pres­sions of what is pro­posed for Con­sall Hall Gar­dens.

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