Planning approval was granted to convert council-owned Backford Hall into private housing in a deal worth up to £5.4m for town hall coffers.
Cheshire West and Chester Council had already agreed to sell the Grade II-listed Jacobethan - a mix of Jacobean and Elizabethan styles - hall and grounds to Cheshire-based Jones Homes subject to planning consent.
The development features 63 homes comprising 10 apartments in Backford Hall; seven semi-detached dwellings in the coach house, stables and barn; refurbishment of the lodge and 45 new-build houses.
Jones Homes will provide 25% ‘affordable’ homes in the scheme - 15 units - to the north east of the hall with a sum of money provided in lieu of three additional units required to make the scheme compliant with policy.
Council planning manager Fiona Edwards told the strategic planning committee that although Backford Hall was in the green belt, the footprint of the new site would be a reduction on the current situation due to the demolition of several modern buildings.
There would therefore be no impact on the openness of the green belt.
Recommending approval, she argued the development would bring empty buildings back into use and she had to bear in mind the borough did not currently enjoy five years' deliverable housing supply as required by law.
Concerns were raised by Backford Parish Council and ward councillor Brian Crowe about the impact of construction traffic on the community despite supporting the scheme overall.
But councillors unanimously backed the project subject to approval by the Secretary of State, which is needed because it lies in the green belt.
Cllr Jill Houlbrook, who moved approval, said: “I welcome this development as a revival of the rather wonderful Backford Hall. For anyone who hasn't had that privilege, it is an amazing building.
“Architecturally it's amazing and inside it's fantastic.”
Cllr Angela Claydon, who seconded approval, was nevertheless concerned about the treatment with regard to the affordable housing element.
She said: “I am always unhappy not getting the full amount of affordable housing on the site because to my mind, the offsite money isn't as useful to us as a council as having those houses there.”
She added: “I'm also rather concerned about the idea that we will put all the affordable houses together and that's not really what we like as a planning committee, we tend to like them spread around so that you don't have that ghettoisation.”
CWaC put the historic Backford Hall on the market as part of its plan to rationalise its inherited property portfolio, localise services and save taxpayers’ cash.
Around 200 members of staff from several services were relocated to district offices to enable the sale of the 147-year-old hall, its Lodge House and 24 acres of grounds and pasture land.
Cheshire County Council bought the 40-room Backford Hall, with its galleried hall, mahogany staircase, twisted chimneys and ornamental ceilings, in 1946 for just £10,000.
It had previously doubled as a country club, headquarters of the Salvatorian religious order and Liverpool shipping company office.
Backford Hall was built in 1863 in a mixture of Jacobean and Elizabethan styles for Lt Col Edward Holt Clegg, part of a Gayton landed gentry family that had owned the estate since the 18th century.
There had been two previous houses on the site, the earliest dating from the 16th century.