A glimpse of a ‘bespoke’ English country house planned for the rural site of a Wharfedale hospital has been revealed.

Development consultants JWPC Limited has unveiled an artist’s impression of the traditional-style hall proposed by Middleton Partnership LLP for the former Middleton Hospital land, Carters Lane, Ilkley.

The 57-acre plot, across the valley from the Cow and Calf Rocks beauty spot, is the subject of a planning application submitted to Harrogate Borough Council.

The land is officially designated as a major developed site within the green belt. It stands close to the edge of Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

John Willcock, of JWPC Limited, the agent acting on behalf of the applicant, said it was felt that the land had potential for a dignified English country house.

“It’s an exciting scheme,” he said.

Middleton Partnership will not be the future occupier, he confirmed, but said there was an interested party in the bespoke scheme.

The plan has been scaled back from original proposals discussed with Harrogate planners earlier this year.

Mr Willcock says national planning policy permits the building of country houses of ‘exceptional’ design. He cited the example of Grafton Hall, in Cheshire, a classical-style mansion granted planning permission until planning policy PPS7.

He says it is in keeping with other fine properties built on the south-facing slopes of Wharfedale, including nearby Denton Hall, and the historic Myddelton Lodge.

The plan also includes demolishing the few remaining buildings, and building a new gatehouse to serve as staff quarters, landscaping and creation of tennis courts and a stable block.

The site has been unoccupied since the hospital itself closed in 1990, and much of it has reverted to nature.

It has been the subject of several battles over proposed housing developments, including a £7m eco-friendly ‘sustainable community’.

The current applicant already has planning permission to reuse the site for institutional use.