Restoration plan for historic Salston Manor green-lit

Plans to save one of Ottery St Mary’s most important buildings have been approved.

East Devon District Council’s planning committee on Wednesday morning unanimously agreed to support plans that would see 13 new homes built within the grounds of the former Salston Manor on the edge of the town.

The plans would also see an extension to the building constructed for a further two homes, and would enable a previously consented but not implemented scheme for the conversion of the main building to form 11 flats to go ahead.

Councillors heard that the site is outside the built-up area boundary of Ottery St Mary and was contrary to Local Plan policies, particularly as no affordable housing was to be provided, but that the wider benefits from the restoration of the listed building outweigh the negatives of the scheme and thus it was recommended for approval.

The Salston Manor Hotel in Ottery St Mary
The Salston Manor Hotel in Ottery St Mary

Development manager Chris Rose said: “This will secure the future of the heritage asset so we have to decide whether bringing the listed building back into use outweighs the harm of the buildings in the countryside.

“Officers are of the opinion that the proposals would result in less than substantial harm to the character and setting of Salston Manor. In the absence of any significant harm to the character and appearance of the area, the residential amenities of the occupiers of surrounding properties, ecology, or flood risk, it is considered that the proposed development is acceptable, bringing a major benefit through the restoration of the listed building.”

Chris Riley, the joint owner and applicant, said that the principle of development had already been agreed for a scheme to enable the restoration of the heritage asset, and that the plans were sympathetic and balanced and were needed to fund the restoration works.

Cllr Geoff Pratt, who represents the Ottery St Mary rural ward, said: “The problem is that the building has suffered so much damage in the last 14 years since lying empty and the cost must be extraordinary to deal with the matter, so I understand why they are making this application today.

“It is a famous building for Ottery St Mary and listed, and it needs to be dealt with, and we need to go along with this, and we can decide the heritage benefits will outweigh any harm to the property. I want to look after this listed building and this is the main priority here.”

Redevelopment of The Salston Manor Hotel in Ottery St Mary
Redevelopment of The Salston Manor Hotel in Ottery St Mary

Cllr Philip Skinner added: “It is sad it has fallen into the disrepair it has. The history of the building is vital for Ottery. This will be a massive job and while it is a departure from policy, it is for the greater good. I recommend this for approval as I don’t want it to fall into disrepair.”

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The proposal will see 13 new dwellings constructed within the grounds in three blocks situated to the south-west, east and north east of the main house respectively.

In addition, an extension to the main house to the east will be constructed which would house a further two apartments, and two further flats in a link extension. Combined with the existing flats within the building to be built out as part of the 2013 application, this will give 13 flats in total within and attached to the main building, making a total of 26 units within the entire site.

Devon Live