A COMPULSORY purchase order has been served on the medieval Leper Hospital in Warwick.
Warwick District Council has served the order on the owner of the ruins which sits in a patch of scrubland in Saltisford. Comprising the tiber-framed Master’s House, St Michael’s Chapel and an ancient monument, the derelict site had been neglected for decades and was described as an ’embarrassment to the town’ in a planning report.
Emergency works costing some £530,000 to secure the unstable building were approved and carried out last year. This included internal and external scaffolding and an independent roof to allow air flow and to stop water getting in.
While further regeneration plans and funding are now in place, the owner has not been prepared to sell the land at what the council considers to be a realistic amount.
Warwick District councillor John Cooke said: “Although I’m disappointed that we’ve had to take this action, it is a very important step in ensuring that this part of Warwick’s heritage is protected and restored. I’m grateful for the support we’ve received from West Midlands Historic Buildings Trust and Historic England who will be our key partners in taking the project forward.”
The owner of the site now has 21 days to object to the order with the matter ultimately being settled by the Secretary of State.
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.