Planning application for flats at historic Houghton Grange

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House

HEADQUARTERS: Huntingdonshire District Council's Pathfinder House - Credit: Archant

An historic mansion at Houghton is set to be converted into five flats as part of a redevelopment scheme for the site.

The move, by Morris Homes, comes after the firm was earlier given the go-ahead to build 99 new homes in the grounds of Houghton Grange, replace a house and refurbish the listed gate lodges.

Houghton Grange was the base for Houghton Poultry Research Station, a government-owned scientific research centre, which closed nearly 30 years ago during which time the historic buildings have fallen into disrepair.

Now Morris Homes has applied to Huntingdonshire District Council for full permission to convert the listed grange into five apartments.

The application concedes that the conversion may cause some harm to historic features but that this would be outweighed by the restoration of the building.

The redevelopment of the Houghton Grange site has been on the cards for years and has involved a number of schemes, including a business park, which did not get off the ground.

It is close to the former golf course which is being redeveloped for housing which led to concerns from Houghton and Wyton about their community merging with St Ives.

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A document submitted with the planning application said: “The design for the future use of the Grange has been substantially altered following specialist advice to minimise harm to historic fabric, resulting in an altered proposed layout and the retention in situ or re-use of historic doors nearby.”

Houghton Grange, which has views across the River Great Ouse, was built in 1897-99 for the prominent Coote family of coal firm Coote and Warren.

It was said to be of “high significance” designed in the Elizabethan Revival style by James Ransome, an internationally-renowned architect. The building later became a government-owned scientific centre researching illnesses in poultry.

The station closed in 1992 and has gradually decayed into a “poor condition” with weather, theft and vandalism contributing to its inclusion on the district council’s buildings at risk register.

Laboratory wings would be removed during the conversion and there would be public access to the site.

Two one-bedroom and three two-bedroom flats are planned for the new-look building.