Historic artist's house at risk

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The fate of a historic listed building, once home to England's first professional female artist, hung in the balance this weekend as developers were given the go-ahead to redevelop the site.

Allbrook Farmhouse in Hampshire, a 17th-century, Grade II listed building, was once home to Mary Beale. The new plans will see the interior of the house substantially modernised and will also allow for a housing estate, roads, car ports and wheelie-bin sheds to be constructed on the last of the site's green land.

The council's local area committee had rejected the scheme but was over-ruled by the Government's planning inspectorate.

Campaigners are looking into the possibility of a judicial review after a report indicated the land may be a rich nature resource and home to protected species.