Thornbridge Hall– Peak District National Park

Thornbridge feature

An appeal has been allowed, quashing an enforcement notice and granting planning permission for the construction of new driveways, car park and café at Thornbridge Hall, Ashford-in-the-Water, Derbyshire. 

Thornbridge Hall is a Grade II listed building with 10 further list entries, all Grade II covering various buildings, structures, walls, gates, and garden features within the grounds.  The Hall is set in a grade II registered park and garden, the Thornbridge Conservation Area, and the Peak District National Park. 

An enforcement notice was served in June 2021 requiring the removal of unauthorised driveways, car park, café, and associated structures.   The development had been undertaken by the appellant to enable extensive public access to the Hall and grounds and to deliver a wide package of public benefits.

An appeal against the enforcement notice was lodged by Emery Planning on behalf of Mr and Mrs Harrison. 

Following a six-day public inquiry, the Inspector found that, overall, the development would cause less than substantial harm to the significance of the heritage assets.  However, she also considered that there was a package of public benefits that would follow from the development: 

“…the increase in opportunities for the general public, the various community groups, schools, and other organisations to experience the Hall and its grounds have, in my judgement, followed from the development. This reveals the significance of the heritage assets to a much wider audience than prior to the development taking place. That public access also has social benefits by supporting the communities’ health and social wellbeing”.

The Inspector concluded that the case was finely balanced, but that the public benefits would outweigh the overall harm to the designated and non-designated heritage assets. 

Mr and Mrs Harrison are dedicated to the long-term conservation of the heritage assets at Thornbridge Hall and estate for the long-term benefit of the public.  The appeal proposals have enabled them to open more widely to the public, creating a profit stream to fund restoration and ongoing repairs and secure the heritage assets for future generations


Being slapped with an enforcement notice was the most bewildering thing that had ever happened to Jim and I in our 21 years of restoring Thornbridge Hall. Fear, sadness and a thousand questions. Then Emery Planning (principally – Caroline Payne) stepped in. We would not have won without them and our mental health would have taken a big hit – no doubts. 

Caroline found the right professionals and an exceptional barrister (now a KC). The team Emery put together was simply the best – led by Caroline – they didn’t miss a beat. They were so determined to get the result that Thornbridge Estate desperately needed. They were committed to the the philosophy of Thornbridge – Thornbridge for Everyone, Forever.

Thanks to them Thornbridge can now open 7 days a week all year round and bring joy and happiness to thousands of visitors  – and of course we can continue to throw our gates wide to all the school kids whose free visits are made possible by our foundation. Emery Planning understood why Thornbridge should win and how they were going it make it happen… and all of that meant we won. Thank you, Thank you.

To read the full Appeal Decision please click here.  

To see our other successful projects then please click here.

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About Emery Planning

We are an independent town planning consultancy established in 2002. Based in Macclesfield, Cheshire, our work is primarily focused in the North West although we also operate in locations across the UK.

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