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Redevelopment of stately home causes concern in next-door village

The redevelopment of a stately home in Northamptonshire that was destroyed by fire is causing concern in the neighbouring village. Photo: ITV News Anglia

Developers have taken their first look inside a derelict 19th century stately home in Northamptonshire they want to restore.

Overstone Hall near Northampton was gutted by a fire in 2001 and has been lying empty ever since.

The new owners want to spend around £25 million restoring it and creating a series of apartments.

But there's been a backlash in Overstone village because the plans also include building a new estate of around 50 houses.

  • Click to watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Stuart Leithes

It will take more than a bit of plastering and a lick of paint to restore Overstone.

Its owner, developer Barry Howard Homes, had been told for health and safety reasons they couldn't just walk in at ground level.

So the only way to assess the condition of the historic mansion was to be lowered in by a crane.

The restoration plans have caused concerns in the village of Overstone because it would be funded by the developers building a new housing estate.

It would be what's known as an 'enabling development' - that's where a planning proposal which would normally be rejected is approved because it subsidises the cost of saving a heritage asset.

Plans to rebuild Overstone Hall have caused controversy because a housing estate of 50 homes may also be built. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The hall was commissioned by Lord Overstone's wife Harriet in 1860 but she died before it was completed and he didn't like the place so he never visited it.

It was inherited by their daughter, also called Harriet, but it's said she only ever used it for occasional hunting trips.

By the 1920s Overstone Hall had been turned into a school. Then it was owned by a church group as their headquarters.

The fire in 2001 caused extensive damage.

Having seen the extent of the damage from the inside the developers expect to apply for planning permission by the end 2017.

They will soon know whether they can build a new housing estate and begin saving the stately home.