THE MEDIEVAL leper hospital in Warwick could be converted into ‘affordable’ housing.
Warwick District Council (WDC) has revealed plans to convert part of the 12th-century site for residential use and build an apartment block.
The council recently submitted a Compulsory Purchase Order, after the owner refused to sell the crumbling property, and is seeking planning permission to allow for the restoration of the buildings which are on the ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.
And now the council has revealed its regeneration project, in partnership with Platform Housing Group and West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust, includes housing as part of sustaining its future.
The plans include for the site’s two Grade II listed buildings, St Michael’s Chapel and the ‘Master’s House’, to be converted into a one-bed and a two-bed home respectively. To the rear of the site a new three-storey residential block will provide eight new one-bedroom apartments.
The council says grounds will be sympathetically landscaped to provide natural recreational space as well as parking.
Deputy chief executive Andrew Jones at WDC said: “In taking this project forward our overwhelming priority is to ensure that this part of Warwick’s heritage is protected and restored. Through our work alongside the West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust whose expertise lies in rescuing and conserving historic ‘at risk’ buildings, we will be able to preserve the legacy of the site and give it a sustainable future.”
West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust chair Sue Whitehouse added: “Finding a way to conserve the buildings on this hugely significant historic site, and to give them a new lease of life, has been challenging. With the help and support of our partners at Warwick District Council, Platform, Historic England and the Architectural Heritage Fund we are almost there. We shall ensure local communities are kept involved with the project once we have the go ahead.”
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.