A CELEBRITY couple that have struggled to sell their Great Warford mansion for six years could get permission to turn it into a spa retreat next week.

Cheshire East Council officers are calling on the northern planning committee to approve Dawn and Ashley Ward’s latest plans to transform Warford Hall at next Wednesday’s meeting.

Real Housewives of Cheshire star Dawn and and former professional footballer Ashley are no strangers to the planning process, having failed in an attempt to convert Warford Hall into a wedding venue in 2017.

Those plans were fiercely opposed by Great Warford residents, and the couple are facing opposition to their latest plans.

Cllr Charlotte Leach, Conservative CEC member for Mobberley, said: “I am calling the application in on behalf of Great Warford Parish Council and a number of local residents who have a number of concerns including the traffic impact and the potential increase in noise at the site.”

Knutsford Guardian:

CEC has received 33 objections against the proposals, with concerns over disruption to neighbours, an increase in traffic and how the business could further develop in future years.

A statement sent to CEC from Great Warford Parish Council’s planning committee said: “The parish council does not raise an objection to the principle of the provision of business opportunities within the rural area which can offer employment opportunities to local people.

“There are, however, reservations regarding the sustainability of such activities and their impact upon the local community.”

But CEC’s officers insist the scheme would have an ‘acceptable level of impact’ on neighbouring homes and ‘limited impact on the openness of the green belt’.

If approved, the luxury spa retreat would cater for up to 30 overnight guests in 16 bedrooms, while a car park would provide 68 spaces.

Knutsford Guardian:

A planning statement sent to CEC explains why the Wards have been so keen to sell their home.

It says: “The property which dates from 1867 is very costly to maintain and run.

“For example, the utility services cost over £100,000 per year and three people are employed permanently to maintain the outside of the property and the five acres of garden.

“The applicants wish therefore to establish a business that would help the hall become sustainable and build upon the qualities of the property and its setting.”

The Wards bought Warford Hall 14 years ago after it had previously been used for offices.

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They converted part of the site back to its original use as a country home, but retained some of the office space to run Bilton Ward Developments – a firm which had to be cut back following the recession in 2009.

The property has been listed for sale with two estate agents in recent years.