A RUN-DOWN former home of inventor Hiram Maxim is due to receive a massive makeover.

The old Baldwyn's Park Mansion, on the site of what was Bexley Hospital, is currently lying boarded up and partially destroyed by fire and damp.

A grade II-listed building, the mansion dates back to the early 19th Century and was last used as accommodation for the then-expanding mental asylum.

Now Laing Homes and Morgan Restoration want to convert the rotting building into 14 flats, restoring several original features.

When finished, the apartments are likely to be highly desirable, matching exclusive homes which have already sprung up on the sprawling site off Old Bexley Lane.

A Dartford Council report says: "The main entrance hall is to be retained providing direct access to the flats in this part of the building.

"The staircase, which has been substantially lost due to fire, is to be replaced to make it like the original and all the plaster mouldings are to be replicated."

Councillors considering the planning application are keen to preserve or renovate the architectural features of the mansion, which make it of "special interest".

A mansard roof, one which has four sloping sides, will be added to the building. It currently has a flat concrete slab roof which is leaking.

Dartford's development control manager says the higher roof will still be "appropriate" for a building of this style and should make room for extra living space.

He added: "The current proposal is therefore felt to be in-keeping with historic tradition."

It has been suggested a plaque should be placed on the mansion commemorating Hiram Maxim's innovative work there.

After renting Baldwyn's Park in 1889, Maxim started work on his first flying machine. He built a massive hangar on the site, in which he conducted his experiments.