AN 18th Century country house operating as a hotel has been sold. Embleton Hall, at Longframlington near Alnwick, has been snapped up by a Tyneside couple who plan to make it their home.
The Grade II listed hall was built in 1730 by Thomas Embleton. The property was bought by the Fenwick family in 1780, whose descendants remained there until Trevor and Judy Thorne bought it in 1986.
Mr Thorne, Northumberland county councillor for the Shilbottle ward, grew up in the area and had visited as a child to deliver milk and scrump apples.
He later worked for the Bank of England looking after foreign visitors. This prompted the Thornes to turn the hall into a small hotel. In 1993 they won an award for best small hotel in Northumberland but in September the couple decided to retire and sell up.
The property has now been sold to a couple from Tynemouth, both of whom work as accountants.
They plan to divide the property in two and live in the larger South wing, with the woman’s mother to live in the smaller North wing.
The Thornes received the asking price – which was £875,000 – for the property.
The Thornes will continue to live at the site’s stable block with the councillor saying he will look for a new work project to sit alongside his local authority work.
Mr Thorne said: “We had two people approach us, they were very interested in living in the property as a country house rather than a hotel. They put in an offer and we have accepted it and we are taking it forward from there.”
Plans for change of use of the hall from hotel to two residences are to go before the county council planners next week.
Members of the North area planning committee are being recommended to grant planning permission and listed building consent at their meeting on January 3. The proposals involve construction of two private garages and associated alterations to external landscaping.
A report to members states: “The planning statement submitted with the application identifies that the applicant wishes to retire from operating the hotel and the hotel has been on the market as a going concern for much of 2012.”