Critical time to protect historic leper hospital - The Leamington Observer

Critical time to protect historic leper hospital

Leamington Editorial 8th Aug, 2019 Updated: 8th Aug, 2019   0

EMERGENCY work is set to be ordered to prevent the total collapse of the historic Leper Hospital in Warwick.

The long-neglected ruins of the medieval St Michael’s Leper Hospital, which sits in a patch of scrubland in Saltisford, has stood derelict for many years covered by a tarpaulin and propped up with scaffolding.

But what is left of the grade II-listed hospital, founded in the 12th century by the Earl of Warwick, is in desperate need of protection.

The grade II listed structure is privately-owned, but as the owner has not carried out work to protect it, Warwick District Council is preparing to step in and then take measures to recover costs.

A council spokesman said: “A structural survey and assessment of the building has been compiled by specialist surveyors following an inspection in May commissioned by the council.

“This concluded the building is in poor condition and in urgent need of works to stabilise and protect it from the elements to avoid further deterioration and loss of an important heritage asset within the district.”

The hospital, also known as the Master’s House, is one of only three such remaining buildings in the country.

The current state of the building is described as an “embarrassment to the town” in a report to the council’s planning committee.

In April last year the council pledged £530,000 – from so-called Section 106 funding paid to the council by housing developers building in the district – to help save the site for future generations.

Council chiefs have long looked for possible ways to preserve the hospital, but a number of proposals have failed to get off the drawing board.

It has meant the site has remained on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register for some two decades – described as in a “very bad” condition, the worst most serious rating.

Councillors are recommended to agree the go-ahead for the emergency work when they meet on Tuesday (August 13).


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