Plans in pipeline to renovate mansion previously earmarked for Syrian refugees - The Leamington Observer

Plans in pipeline to renovate mansion previously earmarked for Syrian refugees

Laura Kearns 29th Jun, 2018   0

PLANS are in the pipeline to renovate a mansion near Leamington.

Offa House in Offchurch was sold by the Church of England in May 2017 after being put on the market with a guide price of £875,000.

The new owners of the the 27-bedroom property want to use the grade II listed building as a family home and have applied for permission to completely renovate the mansion, along with a number of other changes.

These include dividing the main 18th century property from a wing which was added in the 1980s and extending it, creating an additional four-bedroom property for their ‘aging parents’.

The family also plan to transform the Coach House on the land into a seperate home, complete with its own driveway.

The application to Warwick District Council reads: “Proposed changes will be to suit modern living standards yet ensure the historic and architectural importance of this listed building will be preserved and the impact will be minimal to any remaining features and re-instate many which are missing.

“The history of this building spans three centuries and has been altered over its lifetime to suit various living styles. This renovation will add another chapter to its history by sympathetically adapting rooms and communal areas to better suit modern family life. The proposal is to bring the building back into practical use and support its long-term maintenance to ensure the building survives as a heritage asset.”

Before it was sold plans were in the pipeline to use the property as short term accommodation for Syrian refugees.

But the proposal fell through as the Government’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) scheme was to put refugees straight into long term housing.

Church leaders then looked at the possibility of housing asylum seekers from other countries at the former Diocesan Retreat House, but following consultation with villagers, the Home Office and G4S the proposal was also dropped.

And after considering further possibilities – including seeking a sustainable plan to re-open Offa House as a retreat house and working in partnership with another Christian charity – a final decision was made to sell.

Offa House, which is within the village conservation area and next to St Gregory’s Church, was put on the market just under three years ago with a guide price of £1.25million. There was talk of it becoming a country house hotel or a private school, but it failed to sell.


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