The heir to the title of 9th Baronet Sheffield has unveiled a proposal to open up his family’s historic home more to help fund the conservation of one of its designated heritage assets.

Robert Sheffield, whose sister is former prime minister’s wife Samantha Cameron, has lodged a planning and listed building consent application with North Yorkshire Council to transform its grade II listed former stables into homes or holiday accommodation on the Sutton Park estate, at Sutton on the Forest, north of York.

The proposal will be scrutinised by a variety of bodies as the documents state the application is near Sutton Park House, a grade I listed property for which legislation states great weight must be given to protecting views to and from.

In addition, the papers say the site is in open countryside, inside a designated conservation area and is home to five species of roosting bat, all of which features are protected to some extent.

The papers claim the development would have no impact on views to and from the main house, which features old master paintings and furniture which originally adorned the Sheffield family’s London seat, Buckingham House, which later became Buckingham Palace.

The application states: “The proposed residential conversion is very small in scale and appropriate and commensurate in size and scale with Sutton on the Forest.”

Planners will also look at potential impacts on other listed buildings in the grounds, including an ice house and a walled kitchen garden, and on the village’s conservation area, which the stables are within.

However, agents for the developer said as “modest changes” to the exterior of the stables, a mix of single and two storey buildings were being proposed, they did not believe the development would impact on the other heritage assets.

The document states: “In the main the existing openings and features are to be used and there is no change planned to the external space surrounding the building.”

It states if planners or Historic England believe the impact of the deveopment would have a significant impact on the heritage assets, the “important public benefits” of the proposal should be considered, which include “providing opportunities for visitors to visit and stay at Sutton Park to better appreciate and understand its history and significance”.

The estate’s website describes it as the “private family home of the Sheffield family in North Yorkshire”, underlining that the house and eight-acre award-winning gardens are open to the public for a limited period every year.

Nevertheless, the planning papers state how the Hambleton Local Plan supports the rural economy, rural tourism and converting existing buildings in the countryside and that the proposal would create a “viable” use for the former stables.

The papers add: “The proposals will sustain the significance of the heritage asset. The proposals will find a new long-term use for the former stables, so historic significance can be sustained.”



The application states as there are five species of roosting bat on the site it will be necessary to get a European Protected Species Licence from Natural England before starting the development.