Conversion of barn beside Danby Castle, near Whitby, an 'economic necessity'

The conversion of an agricultural barn beside Danby Castle on an aristocrat’s North York Moors estate is “an economic necessity”, it has been claimed.

By Stuart Minting, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 22nd July 2022, 10:14 am

Planning documents state extending facilities at Danby Castle, which serves as the venue for an ancient manorial court as well as a wedding venue, will enhance building, which was once the home of Catherine Parr, before her marriage to King Henry VIII.

In a planning application to the North York Moors National Park Authority agents for Danby Castle Events Limited, which is owned by an entrepreneur with numerous property and venue concerns, said the firm had established an increasingly popular venue at the site.

They said the scheme was a natural extension to facilities at the site designated as grade I listed, due to its exceptional national, architectural or historical importance.

View of Houlsyke, from Danby Castle.

The agents said the firm aimed to meet the increasing popularity of the venue.

The castle, some of which is in ruins, is still the venue for the ancient Danby Court Leet manorial court, which meets in October, but whose functions are now restricted to the management of common land.

The application states the proposed additional facilities will add several full-time and a number of part-time jobs to those already employed at the venue.

The agents state the new buildings “are undoubtedly essential to the continuing commercial development of Danby Castle”.

They added: “The intention of the current proposals are to alter and extend the barn next to the listed buildings to create the new improved facilities required for the continuing economic future of the venue with minimal physical alteration to the existing building.

“Where extensions are required the design policy has been to ensure that these additions actually enhance the overall appearance by removing or disguising some of the less satisfactory alterations and extensions done in the past.”

The agents concluded the impact of the scheme on the listed building would be a beneficent one by removing unsightly asbestos cladding and replacing this with traditional materials, following the style of a nearby building.

After assessing the proposal, a building conservation officer for the authority welcomed the re-use of the redundant barn, in principle, saying it would enable the site to function as a complete venue space.

However, the officer added the scheme, which includes enlarging and adding windows to take advantage of the view across the valley, would need revision as it could undermine historic walls and fail to respect the character of buildings in the highly protected area.

The 12th Viscount Downe is the latest successor to enjoy a long period of ownership of the estate which started in 1656, when his family bought the castle, tenanted farms, moorland and became Lord of the Manor.