THE FUTURE of Warwick’s medieval leper hospital is secure.
A Government appointed planning inspector has confirmed the compulsory purchase by Warwick District Council (WDC) of the 12th century Leper Hospital site in Saltisford.
The council submitted the order earlier this year, after the owner refused to sell the crumbling property which falls on the ‘heritage at risk’ register.
And now an agreement has been reached, before the authority exercises its right, that the owner will have until the end of the year to submit a planning application and then repair and refurbish parts of the dilapidated heritage site within 30 months.
Should the owner not comply, the land will automatically transfer to the council and, subject to planning approval, the authority would be able to facilitate the restoration of the Master’s House and St Michael’s Chapel – both Grade II listed buildings.
WDC economy spokesman John Cooke said: “It’s great news that we now have a way of ensuring that these Grade II* listed heritage assets are saved. Whether this is done by the current owner or through the work of the district council is not important, as what matters here is that we can now be assured that these historic buildings have a future.”
It was also revealed in spring, the council intends to convert the chapel and Master’s House into a one-bed and a two-bed home respectively. And to the rear of the site, a new three-storey residential block could provide eight one-bedroom apartments.
The authority says grounds will be sympathetically landscaped to provide natural recreational space as well as parking.
Hospital records show the church of St Michael was founded by the Earl of Warwick in 1135. By the mid-1500 it was said to be `much in ruin’ and was leased to a layman, Richard Fisher, who allowed four poor men to take up lodging. The chapel and Master’s house were later converted to cottages between the 17th and 18th centuries.