A Herefordshire country house that became unviable as a care home cannot be changed to a family home as its new owners wanted, county planners have ruled.

The Bulmer family were granted permission in April last year to change the use of the grade II-listed Hampton House in the village of Hampton Bishop southeast of Hereford.

A further application, including for listed building consent, then sought to remove later additions to the building while adding a new French doors and steps and an orangery at the east end and a sun room to the west, and making a number of internal changes.

But these have now been rejected over heritage concerns.


Herefordshire Council’s building conservation officer Conor Ruttledge said aspects of the conversion plan “will result in harm to the architectural interest” of the building and to the village conservation area.

“Altering the eastern openings as proposed would result in loss of visual cohesion,” he said. Meanwhile removing a modern two-storey addition to the west “presents the opportunity to restore architectural balance across the building, rather than the proposed treatment”.

The earliest, eastern part of the building “would not have accommodated such an overtly grandiose feature as an orangery”, while the sun room to the west “would also impact on the amenity of the conservation area given its position on the prominent, road-facing, elevation”.


Proposed “balconettes” on first-floor windows would also be “an incongruous intervention”, Mr Ruttledge judged, adding that retaining the house’s “restrained character”, rather than any “faux embellishment”, should be the design aim.

The proposals drew no objections from the parish council or from the public, with one neighbour commenting: “It will return a lovely building to its original state and therefore add to the amenity of Hampton Bishop.”

However planning officer Simon Rowles concluded that the proposal “would fail to conserve the significance of the building, including the contribution made to its setting within the conservation area”.

The decision to refuse permission and listed building consent says the scheme’s “public benefits, including facilitating a viable use and removal of unsympathetic 20th-century additions, would not outweigh the harm identified”.