The iconic Rivington Hall Barn will open shepherd’s hut rooms to rival other wedding venues
A scenic Lancashire wedding venue may soon add accommodation as its bids to open shepherd’s huts on its grounds.
Rivington Hall Barn says the addition is vital to enabling its business to compete with other wedding venues already hosting overnight stays. However, the plan has been criticized by groups opposed to the development who argue it is an inappropriate use of public land.
The Chorley Planning Committee will debate the matter on Tuesday and have been advised that the development is necessary for the viability of the site. If approved, four of the cabins will be set up on the grounds of Lever Park and will be designed to accommodate two adults and will include a bedroom, kitchen/dining/living room and bathroom. They must be pre-built and delivered to the site for placement in the lawn area of the hall and barns.
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The app explains that couples getting married are increasingly requesting overnight accommodation on site, at least for key guests, as a major requirement. He warns that many potential wedding parties will not consider the venue as overnight accommodation is currently not available and this contrasts with the venue’s main competitors.
A report prepared for the committee states: “Without overnight accommodation, it is expected that the location will become less attractive, leading to a drop in business which will affect the viability of the business. Without the wedding operations provided by the company, there would be no apparent meaningful use of Rivington Hall, which would endanger a Grade II* listed building.
“While other accommodation may be available in the area, it is not always available or always up to the required standard, and does not meet the expectations of many potential wedding parties. High quality accommodation options of the type sought for nuptials are quite limited in the area, and providing overnight accommodation would help ensure business success and attract potential clients.
The application is being objected to by Rivington Parish Council and Friends of Lever Park, who are concerned whether it will lead to further development and the loss of public access. They were also frustrated that they were not consulted directly. The parish council also argues that the legacy left by Lord Leverhulme is a priority that should be respected before “a business for profit”.
The application was recommended for approval in the report prepared for council, as a planning officer says the wooden materials will reduce visual impact while the fact that the trailers are mobile will prevent damage to the land. The report concludes: “While the proposal would be a definitionally unsuitable development in the green belt, there are very specific circumstances which clearly outweigh the definitional harm to the green belt due to the unsuitability.
“The proposal would meet the statutory criterion ‘to preserve’ the significance of designated heritage properties. This would have no negative impact on road safety, the character of the area, nearby amenities or nature conservation interests. It is therefore recommended that the request be approved.