A FORMER residential retreat for a religious order on the edge of the Lake District is to be converted into a £3 million hotel.

Planners are likely to give the go-ahead today for the creation of a 20-bedroomed hotel in the Victorian country house near Kendal once occupied by the Salesian Sisters.

The Gazette reported last November that a Fylde coast firm had exchanged contracts on Brettargh Holt, near Levens, with plans to turn it into a four-star hotel.

Members of South Lakeland District Council’s planning committee will this morning discuss a planning application which is being supported by officers, subject to access and highway improvements.

The developers say the hotel would bring ‘considerable’ economic and tourism benefits to the area and provide jobs for more than 30 people.


It would feature a bar and restaurant, a function room which could accommodate up to 130 seated guests, new parking facilities and the conversion of a lodge to provide manager’s accommodation.

But concerns have been raised by Levens Parish Council about access to the A590 and the high volume of traffic leaving and entering a dual carriageway, where traffic will be travelling at speeds of 70mph.

The Westmorland and Furness Bat Group is also calling for the application not to be determined until a full bat survey has been carried out by ‘a suitably qualified person’.’ The 140-year-old house, which has also previously been a maternity home, will be owned by Stewart McIntosh, who will be managing director, and Fylde entrepreneur and hotelier Simon Rigby.

A report to councillors says the prospective owner of the property already owns a restaurant on the Fylde coast, restaurant with function suite attached.

“Over the last few years he has been developing this site and it has become a very successful business in a short space of time,” says the report. “He sees similarities between the two sites and believes he can develop a successful business of the same type at Brettargh Holt.”

The Salesian Sisters closed their base at Brettargh Holt after 40 years providing spiritual education for the community.

A spokeswoman said at the time that the building would close because of a ‘lack of personnel and the ever increasing financial requirements’.