Housing to fund manor house restoration project

Helpringham EMN-150213-144800001
Helpringham EMN-150213-144800001

A crumbling Grade II* listed manor house on the ‘Heritage at Risk’ register could now be saved after permission was given to restore it by North Kesteven District Council.

Last Tuesday’s planning committee voted in favour of the scheme by Cooper Brothers of Butterwick to repair and alter The Manor Farmhouse, which has stood empty for 30 years on Helpringham village green, to form two homes. The building dates, in part, back to the 15th century.

NKDC development manager Mark Williets explained the minor alterations were necessary allow for modern living, including dormer windows on the rear wing and French doors. He emphasised that consultees such as Heritage England saw it as necessary to help to remove the property from the ‘at risk’ register and any alterations were outweighed by the benefits

Agent for the owners, Lewis Smith said they hoped the work could be completed within two years. Councillors were unanimously in favour of the scheme.

More controversially, the owners are hoping to part-fund the restoration having been granted outline permission to build seven homes on farm land off George Street.

Councillors approved the scheme as long as a legal agreement is in place that developers must provide bonds to the council, which would be paid back at agreed points in the restoration of the manor. If these triggers are not met the money would go towards affordable housing.

Coun Richard Wright saw this as a ‘generous settlement’. He said: “It is very unusual, when we have a housing shortage, that this money goes over to private ownership.”