Haunted house fears as Staffordshire's Standon Hall revamp gets nod
Controversial plans have been passed to turn a historic listed building into a house - despite concerns from residents it will actually be used as a 'haunted house' attraction.
Standon Hall, a grade two listed building built in 1910, is the subject of a planning application from Historic Holiday Homes limited, who have asked Stafford Borough Council for permission to change its use from a 'residential institution' into a 'dwelling'.
The Hall was formally owned and built for Sir Thomas Anderton Salt, a director of the North Staffordshire Railway company, but its use as a family home was short-lived, with it being sold to Staffordshire County Council in 1925 for hospital use.
It was used as a nursing home until March 2016, when it closed due to funding.
According to a planning application approved by officers at the Borough Council, 'the applicant wishes to return the beautiful building back to its original intended use', however residents are concerned after seeing tickets for various 'haunted house' events already listed for sale at the site available online.
Website mosthauntedexperience.com is selling tickets for ghost hunting evenings at the site in October, November and December, calling Standon Hall an 'abandoned nursing home' and warning potential customers 'this location has bare witness to extreme poltergeist activity'.
Residents have expressed their concerns during consultation that the application is not categorised correctly and that the building being used for such events would create noise and traffic issues.
In a letter to the council, Miss Morag MacDougall said: "I feel this will impact on this peaceful rural community, certainly with noise nuisance,disturbance at these advertised times.
"Also road safety will be an issue,the roads in the area are single track,and not suitable for a huge increase in traffic.
"Further road safety problems may occur during November and December due to adverse weather conditions, we experience heavy frosts,and even early December snows making driving condition hazardous."
Council bosses have approved the plans, however they have insisted that the initial terms of the planning application are stuck to.
A decision notice attached to the plans reads: "Neighbour objections have been raised to the scheme in the belief that Standon Hall is being advertised as a venue for hosting haunted house tours.
"Notwithstanding this, the application has been submitted for the change of use of Standon Hall to a residential dwelling only.
"The use of the property for hosting haunted house tours is therefore considered to be a separate matter to this proposal.
"The proposed conversion of the listed building to serve as a single residential dwelling is considered acceptable in principle."