Plans to “gentrify” the grounds of a listed estate house near Coniston Cold and build a swimming pool complex have been refused permission by Craven District Council.

Work at Stainton Cotes, Moorber Lane, including the removal of a large part of woodland, had started but came to a halt last year following a visit from enforcement officers, the council’s planning committee was told.

Following the issuing of the stop notice in August, two applications – for the change of use of a field to formal, landscaped gardens and for the building of a swimming pool, snooker room and cinema – were submitted to the council, along with one for listed building consent.

At last week’s meeting, councillors agreed with the recommendation of planning officer Neville Watson that it would be sporadic and unacceptable development and refused all applications.

It will now be up to applicant Gordon Halton whether or not to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against the decision of the council.

Agent JO Steel told councillors that the woodland behind the house had traditionally been felled to fuel the woodburners and claimed there was a “high degree of stewardship” at the important heritage asset.

He said the aim to build a series of formal terraces could be compared to estates such as Stone Gappe, Lothersdale, and that the swimming pool complex would be partially dug into the ground, but could be completely underground, if that was what the committee wanted. But although some thought the changes were acceptable, the majority of councillors believed them to be an unacceptable sub-urbanisation and the manicuring of what had been countryside.

Ward councillor Alan Sutcliffe (Cons), who pointed out that the parish council had objected, said many people in the area were concerned about the enormity of the work taking place and recommended refusal.