Plan to convert part of historic manor into office space submitted

The owner of Little Easton Manor, Andy Mahoney, has applied to convert the courtyard buildings into

The owner of Little Easton Manor, Andy Mahoney, has applied to convert the courtyard buildings into office space. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A Little Easton estate which dates back hundreds of years could be given an upgrade, after a planning application was lodged with Uttlesford District Council (UDC).

Andy Mahoney, the owner of Little Easton Manor, which is a Grade II-listed building, has applied for permission to convert the manor's courtyard buildings into office spaces and cover the yard with a "pyramidal" roof.

According to Stephen Heywood, a consultant who assessed the heritage impact of the plans, "the modest proposal will provide economic viability to an otherwise redundant space".

Listed buildings on the estate are currently available for hire as wedding venues, whilst also hosting theatre and concerts. The site also hosts the annual Countess of Warwick's Show.

Mr Mahoney is the managing director of 24x7 Ltd, a transport company which holds the contract for 24×7 Stansted Airport Taxis. He also established Centre Algarve, a holiday centre for children with special needs.

According to a design and access statement submitted to UDC, the proposals would see the courtyard rooms converted into store rooms, offices, a kitchen and toilets, which will be "used in connection" with Mr Mahoney's "business and charity interests".

A pyramidal part-glazed roof would be built over the existing courtyard, "to make use of that space for business and seminar purposes".

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The new roof would not be seen from the surrounding land as its height is lower than the surrounding buildings, the statement added.

The significance of the courtyard buildings is "low to moderate" and research has shown that construction took place in 1946, although it is possible that it had begun before the estate was taken over by the air force in 1943, according to Mr Heywood.

"The heritage impact is slight given the relatively low significance of the mid-twentieth century addition, Hardly any material, irreversible alterations are proposed," Mr Heywood finished.

The Little Easton Manor estate was owned by the Maynard family from 1590 until 1925. It is mentioned in the Domesday Book. According to the manor's website, it was bought by Basil Dean, later purchased in 1971 by Neville and Vera Pedley, who owned the estate for nearly 50 years.