THE owners of a Peeblesshire mansion and wedding venue are hoping to turn it back to a hotel. 

The custodians of Hartree House, near Biggar, are hoping to offer year-round accommodation for guests, after a planning battle with the council two years ago left them able to host wedding parties, but not guests, in their mansion.

The owners, Michael and Stephanie Goddard bought the 18th century house in 2008, before spending around £1.5m renovating the property and grounds. 

The Goddards were granted permission to turn the house into a wedding venue with marquees in July 2016, but Scottish Borders Council imposed strict conditions on the use after receiving strong objections from neighbours. 

One condition, that the planning permission was only valid for two years, was removed on appeal but the condition that only two rooms can be rented out in the mansion at a time has remained in place.

The most recent application, submitted by Lanark-based Burrel Design Studios on behalf of the Goddards, seeks to lift this condition and allow guests to stay in the mansions year-round.  

A supporting statement accompanying the application reads: “The effect of the council’s ruling means that year-round self-catering accommodation may legitimately be offered in the lodge, the white house and penthouse, and the rights bestowed under the planning acts mean that year-round bed and breakfast accommodation may be offered for a maximum of two bedrooms within Hartree House. 

“However, planning permission would be required if three or more bedrooms within Hartree House were occupied by guests.

“Over the last 10 years, the current owners of Hartree House have rescued the historic structure from being a building ‘at risk’ to being a fully restored historic building incorporating some contemporary elements, which have served to reconcile former unsympathetic earlier additions and have made the building fit for occupation in the current age.

“Regrettably, the limitations imposed by the planning status of the property at Hartree have restricted the opportunity for the current owners to accommodate visitors who have wished to re-establish their connection with Hartree House. 

“The opportunity to offer accommodation in Hartree House to guests will add significantly to the attraction of Hartree as a venue and will assist towards the upkeep of the house and grounds.”

A castle, known as Hartree Tower, was present on the site by at least the 16th century, but was demolished in the late 18th century by Colonel Alexander Dickson, who rebuilt the current Hartree House in its place. 

In 1901, the property was passed to Elizabeth Dickson after her brother Archibald died unmarried. 

The house was used as a school during world war two, before being converted into a hotel in the post-war period. 

Hartree House was eventually neglected until the Goddards took over the property and converted it into a home in 2008.