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Studley Castle opens its doors after a three year renovation

Studley Castle, the brand new hotel from leisure group Warner Leisure Hotels, opened its doors to its first guests recently for a spectacular launch weekend.

Turley provided a combined planning and heritage strategy for the renovation and extension of the castle which is a rare example of a country house designed by the Victorian actor and theatre architect Samuel Beazley. It was built in the 1800s and was once home to an agricultural college that trained the country’s Land Girls during both World Wars.

A substantial three-year renovation project has seen the grade II* listed building become one of the most interesting conservation projects in the country, overseen by PWP Architects.

The works were informed by detailed archival research and assessment undertaken by our Heritage team, and a condition survey by Blackett-Ord Conservation Architecture and Engineering which allowed the project architects, PWP Architects, to draw up plans for the reinstatement of lost architectural features including battlements, gables and landscape features. Later additions including a 1930s dormitory wing, which obscured the castle, have been removed to allow the architecture of the original castle to be appreciated. A substantial stable block, which was in a derelict condition, has been repaired and converted to a spa for hotel guests.

The development proposals required the construction of substantial new build floorspace, requiring an expert planning case to be crafted to justify the ‘very special circumstances’ necessary to allow development in the Green Belt. This included a full Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment.

We also provided expert advice on sustainability and economics aspects of the development.

Set in 28 acres of the Warwickshire countryside, Studley Castle offers 209 rooms, four different room types, two restaurants, a cinema, bars and lounges, a spa, a range of outdoor pursuits to enjoy (laser clay, cycling, archery), and one of the largest live performance venues on the UK hotel scene.

Studley Castle

Speaking about the project Senior Heritage Consultant, Kerrie Melrose said:

“Studley Castle was a very special building in desperate need of some TLC. Warner’s proposals provided a timely opportunity not only to halt further deterioration but to restore its original theatrical character which had been eroded by more than a century of poor repairs and loss of architectural features. 

It was a complex project requiring careful consideration and balance of the potential impact.  

Through detailed archival research and architectural analysis, we were able to make a strong case that the extension was of limited architectural and historic interest and had a detrimental effect on the 19th century castle. We’re very proud to have contributed to securing a positive, sustainable future for the building.”

Associate Director, Planning, Diane Bowers added:

“We are delighted to have been involved in such a unique and challenging project.

The complexities lay in balancing the need to bring the buildings back into beneficial use, with the need for new development within the Green Belt to facilitate the restoration and regeneration of this property. We’re proud of the role we played in the creation of a great place to stay in the Warwickshire countryside.” 

24 April 2019