Officer support plans to redevelop historic Richmondshire hospital site

Scorton Care Village.

A proposal to transform a historic hospital site into homes is the best way to preserve the heritage of a North Yorkshire village, planners have advised.

Richmondshire District Council officers have recommended developer Gratia’s plan to convert a vacant care home and chapel on the Abbey Care Village at Scorton, near Richmond, into 23 townhouses and flats to secure a long-term viable use for the “attractive” buildings.

If approved the redevelopment would signal the final chapter for hundreds of years of healthcare links to the premises, which the Hospitaller Order announced would close as a hospital in 2002.

The order made the move shortly after dropping its acute services amid controversy to concentrate on nursing the elderly, dementia patients and adults with complex care needs.

The properties have not been used since 2013, when fire safety issues arose over the care home and assisted living accommodation.

An officers’ report to a meeting of the authority’s planning committee next Wednesday states while Scorton Care took ownership of the property in 2017, the firm had no success in bringing it back into use as they found the building is “simply too large and too old for the types of supported housing that is expected nowadays”.

The report warns without action key buildings on the site originally developed in the mid-18th century as the St John of God Hospital may otherwise deteriorate to the detriment of Scorton’s Conservation Area.

The proposal will be considered almost two decades after the authority roundly rejected a proposal to create 77 homes on the site, partly as it would end the long established healthcare use of the buildings.

The application site includes Gwendolyn House, a substantial former hospital, and a Catholic chapel built in 1823 for the former hospital and nearby listed former convent building, St Clare’s, where nuns ran a school for girls before moving to Darlington.

The premises were vacated by the Poor Clares’ convent in 1857 and bought by a Cistercian priest, becoming a hospital for the elderly.

In their submission Gratia states numerous attempts have been made to try and bring the building back into use, but it has now laid empty for ten years.

After discussions with council social care bosses, the firm has been told that for the building to continue as a care home a prohibitively expensive programme of works would be needed.

Ahead of the meeting, an agent for Gratia said the overarching design principles for the development were to restore and retain as much of the existing buildings of architectural interest on site, while rejuvenating the
interior and exterior space surrounding.

It states the buildings have a number of modern extensions of low architectural merit which will be demolished to unveil and enable the higher quality architecture “to stand proud upon the site”.

1 Comment

  1. Can anyone out there tell me where the large building to replace this longstanding Hospital and later care home are been built?
    Have we just cashed this one in and forgot the reason it was built for and not replaced it.
    We desperately need more state owned care homes for the old people etc.
    Please consider building a new care home with this cash.

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