Multiple objections have been received by a council over plans to convert a grade two listed former mansion which has fallen into disrepair for a new housing development.

Normanby Hall, in Normanby, once belonged to the de Brus family, of Skelton Castle and, later, William Pennyman, with previous owners also including former Conservative MP Charles Ward-Jackson and former Middlesbrough FC chairman Charles Amer.

In more recent times it was used as a nursing home, although this closed in 2015 and the hall has been empty since.

Plans submitted to Redcar and Cleveland Council by Marian Construction envisage a change of use for the dilapidated property by restoring it and creating 11 new “attractive” apartments, along with 40 more houses – detached bungalows and terraced almhouses which will overlook a communal garden – car parking and associated infrastructure.

Darlington and Stockton Times: An overhead view of the site with Normanby Hall pictured slightly left of centre Picture: JOHN ENGLISH

More than a hundred separate comments had been received from neighbours at the last count unhappy with the proposals with a consultation period previously being extended by the local planning authority.

Normanby ward councillor Paul Salvin said the plans were a “clear overdevelopment” because of the sheer amount of new homes proposed.

He said there would be a detrimental impact on residents living in Cricket Lane, part of the Normanby Hall Park estate, because of an increase in traffic and also questioned another “difficult to comprehend” suggested access via Coach House Mews because of the existing road layout.

Other concerns have been raised about the impact on surrounding woodland which Cllr Salvin said had an abundance of wildlife, including foxes, birds, bats and deer.

He said in his submission: “Conservation of the local environment does not seem to be a priority and this would have a huge impact on local ecology, there are multiple large trees with existing TPOs (Tree Protection Orders) which will be removed to accommodate the design.”

Cllr Salvin suggested at present it was “not the right development”.

Another local councillor, Paul McInnes highlighted similar concerns and also said he feared the hall itself would be neglected, or even withdrawn from the project, once planning permission had been gained.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Artist's impressions of the proposed Normanby Hall housing development Picture: Logic Architecture

A member of the public who got in touch with the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) said approximately one hectare of woodland could be removed with council policy stating any disturbance to protected trees and important wildlife areas should be minimised.

He said many people wanted to see the hall preserved as it was an important part of Normanby’s heritage, but not at the expense of woodland and also a potential loss of privacy in respect of existing homes in the vicinity.

A planning strategy response from the council said utilising the site for housing was considered acceptable in principle and its policy was supportive of “conservation-led, sensitive” residential development contingent on various criteria.

A design and access statement prepared by Middlesbrough-based Logic Architecture, acting as an agent on behalf of the applicant, said that the proposed regeneration would “rescue and cease further decline of a significant local building”.

Darlington and Stockton Times: Artist's impressions of the proposed Normanby Hall housing development Picture: Logic Architecture

The aim was to specifically provide housing for over 55s and the elderly, while new amenity spaces would be created with a central community point at its heart allowing views onto the hall.

The statement said the original grounds surrounding the site had been gradually developed over time and developing what remained would, in turn, fund the refurbishment of the hall, although its conversion potential was limited due to its listed status.

It described how the hall had increasingly suffered damage as a result of anti-social behaviour and redevelopment was considered the best solution to improving its security, something supported by a ‘designing out crime’ officer from Cleveland Police.

It also referred to management of the landscape and plans for a “biodiversity net gain”, and stated: “On balance whilst there will need to be some clearance of vegetation, it is envisaged that the site will ultimately flourish and could even provide increased habitats to flora and fauna.”

The applicant and agent had met with representatives of the Normanby Local History Group, who offered their support for the planned scheme, while a flyer had also been posted to local residents with a link to a YouTube video summarising the plans and inviting comments.

The statement concluded: “The masterplan and design for the new build represents a very considered and sympathetic solution and an opportunity for the wider Normanby Hall site to not only rescue the hall from further decline, but also benefit from the removal of an ASB headache to the wider community.

“Further, the proposal to retain and enhance a significant amount of the landscaping to the front of the hall will inevitably also be welcomed as it will tidy up the current site, but also create a new communal amenity space within the heart of the development overlooked by all.”

The LDRS contacted the agent to establish whether the applicant wished to comment at this stage, but no response was received.

The plans could be considered by the council’s regulatory committee later in the year.