Historic buildings in Warwick described as an ‘embarrassment to the town’ could be set for a revamp after years of being in disrepair.
Last week Warwick District Council heard the results of a viability appraisal that looked at developing the site of the remains of the St Michael’s Chapel and Master House site, known locally as the Leper Hospital, in the Saltisford area of Warwick.
At the meeting councillors agreed to invest £530,000 from Section 106 agreements into the site to provide a supported-housing scheme that would provide to 16 units.
Several schemes for the site have been put forward over the years but none were successful.
The remains of the site, which in the planning documents is described as ‘an embarrassment to the town’ has been undeveloped for many years.
The buildings are Grade II-listed and on a Scheduled Monument list and the site is a designated Heritage Asset.
According to the district council, the hospital is one of only three Leper Hospitals in the county.
The buildings on the Leper Hospital include the Master’s House, which is covered by plastic sheets and St Michael’s Chapel.
The Master’s House is a timber-framed building with foundations dating back to the 12th century and a structure dating from the 15th century. The church is a stone chapel built to serve the hospital in the 15th century.
Hospital records indicate that the Earl of Warwick founded the chapel in 1135.
In 1545 the hospital was taken over by Richard Fisher who used the buildings to help the poor.
The Master’s House and chapel were converted into cottages in the 17th to 18th century.
Terry Morris, town and district councillor for the Saltisford Ward, said: “I am delighted that Warwick District Council has approved the allocation of £530,000 towards the regeneration of the Leper Hospital site in Warwick.
“The site has been in a state of disrepair for as long as most residents of Warwick can remember. Many schemes for the site have come forward over the years, but all have subsequently failed.
“Warwick District Council has been working on the current proposal for nearly five years. It is a complex situation requiring the agreement of a number of potential partners and the current landowner. The plan to restore and protect the heritage buildings and develop other parts of the land to provide supported housing is a great result after many years of the site being neglected.”
A spokesperson from Warwick District Council said: “The Council’s Executive has agreed to make available up to £530,000 from Section 106 affordable housing funding to help deliver an exciting new development project in Warwick.
“The Leper Hospital site has remained undeveloped for a number of years but now this development project will revitalise the site to provide a supported-housing scheme as well as the opportunity to learn more about this important historic site.
“The buildings will also be repaired and refurbished to suit the needs of the supported housing whilst maintaining the history of the site.”
Any formal plans for the site would go through the council’s planning process.