Residents of a peaceful village have reacted angrily after permission was given for a Grade II historic hall to hold weddings and other events at weekends.
Objectors say South Kesteven District Council should be ‘ashamed of itself’ for allowing the events to be held at Marston Hall for up to 25 weekends a year.
Members of the council’s development control committee this week approved the application which will mean the hall’s owners can host weddings, entertainment receptions, conferences and guided tours as well as maintain the hall as a residence. But conditions will mean they have to finish by 9.30pm and no more than 60 people may attend.
But the committee’s approval, which will last for three years, was met with disbelief from people who live nearby.
Steve Richards, of Barkston Road, told the Journal: “It’s disgraceful. They have put a building ahead of people. People are more important. Our quality of life has been ignored. They should be ashamed of themselves. We will fight them. We will have noise abatement people there.
“It’s shameful they have not represented us.
“The owner is an absentee landlord. He lives in London. He is not going to get away with ruining our peaceful village.”
Another resident, Jago Rideout, who also lives close to the hall, told the committee that he had moved to the village with his young family because it is peaceful.
Mr Rideout said the narow road giving access to the hall would be clogged with vehicles, causing a danger to pedestrians. He added that the Ramada Hotel, about a mile away, already provided similar facilities and music could be heard when events were held there.
He said: “People want to enjoy a peaceful summer evening in their garden. This is of no benefit to the village.”
More than 40 letters of objection to the application were received by the council.
A previous application – which referred to the use of marquees in the grounds and firework displays – was turned down. The approved plan does not include these elements.
When the latest application was submitted, hall owner John Thorold said that faced with the costs of ongoing repair work to the property and concerns over what may happen to it if the family ever has to sell, he decided to try again.
“When these buildings go out of families, there is not a good record over what happens to them,” he said, adding that he considers himself the ‘guardian’ of the property, which has been in the Thorold family since 1380 and has records dating back to the Norman Conquest.
At the meeting, Coun Rosemary Kaberry-Brown said: “Part of the building was built in 1055. We need to keep this building in good condition for other people to appreciate. I think we should support the owners of Marston Hall to preserve it.”
Mr Thorold stressed that the hall would remain primarily a family home with only downstairs rooms being used for weddings and other events.