Developers selected to buy council-owned Backford Hall have submitted a planning application.

Cheshire West and Chester Council agreed to sell the Grade II-listed Jacobean hall and grounds to Cheshire- based Jones Homes in a deal worth up to £5.4m, subject to planning approval.

Jones Homes has now lodged planning and listed building applications featuring 65 homes comprising 10 apartments in Backford Hall; seven semi-detached dwellings in the coach house, stables and barn; refurbishment of the lodge and 47 new-build houses, 30% of which will be ‘affordable’.

A document supporting the plan states: “The philosophy of the design is to create an intimate development that respects the listed building and considers all the constraints within and surrounding the site and to better integrate the Backford Estate into the Backford settlement.”

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.