Barton Hall hotel plans are set to be approved

A DECAYING historic hall’s fate will be decided tonight when councillors rule whether it can be transformed into a multi-million pound hotel.

Kettering Council’s planning committee will decide whether the Hazelton Group can refurbish the grade two listed Barton Hall in Kettering as a hotel, wedding venue, conference centre and spa.

If the application is granted, the group, which already operates Rushton Hall as a hotel, plans to open up a 52-room hotel by the end of the year.

Managing director Tom Hazelton said: “It’s very positive for the area. It’s a building that has been neglected for many years and we are bringing it back into a sustainable future.”

Mr Hazelton said 50 jobs would be created very soon and up to 100 would be needed once the hotel is fully open.

The group hopes to start using it as a restaurant by Easter, and a wedding venue by the summer.

The proposals involve an extension to the rear of the principal building, a new swimming pool and spa building on the site of existing dilapidated barns to the north of the site, creation of a car park within the walled garden, reinstatement of an existing conservatory and a series of both external and internal alterations to accommodate the proposed use. The 18th century Orangery, which is a Grade I listed building, would also be brought back into use as an ancillary building.

English Heritage supports the application because it would secure the building’s repair and long-term future.

The developer would buy the building off current owners, The Wicksteed Group, subject to the application being successful.

Only parts of the hall have been used in recent years as artists’ studios.

Neighbours have submitted 24 letters objecting to the redevelopment because of noise, traffic, the impact on a heritage asset and the loss of art studios.

Brenda Jones, 82, of Ridgeway Road, Barton Seagrave, said: “I thought that sounded excellent.

“If they put on entertainment that would be better for everybody.”