Major plans to transform the Bootham Park Hospital site into an 172-unit residential care community are being recommended for approval.
That’s despite the scheme requiring the demolition of historic buildings on the site.
Several heritage organisations have objected to the demolition plans, including Historic Buildings & Places and the Victorian Society
But City of York Council say the ‘substantial harm’ caused by knocking down the Grade II listed pauper wings, dating from 1862, is outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme.
These benefits include:
- bringing a complex of listed buildings back into use which have been vacant since 2015
- the sensitive restoration and re-use of Grade I buildings which are of exceptional importance
- restoring the landscape, expanding its capacity for recreational use and securing public access and ongoing maintenance.
Built in 1777 and Grade I listed, Bootham Park closed as a psychiatric hospital in September 2015 after the Care Quality Commission raised serious concerns over safety risks.
A campaign to save the site as a community asset failed when the NHS chose to sell it to Enterprise Retirement Living to create luxury retirement apartments.
Under their plans, the public would retain access to the parkland. Use of new 11-a-side and seven-a-side football pitches, run by Bootham School, would be limited during the school day and during term time.
The retirement complex would feature a wellness centre, dining room, fruit and vegetable garden, a cinema room, a hobby room, games room, a library and lounges, an exercise studio, staff and guest accommodation, as well as a bistro which ERL has said will be open to the public.
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- Eerie and empty… 11 photographs inside Bootham Park Hospital, three years after it closed
- Fate of Bootham Park revealed: Luxury retirement flats, a café, and an occasional pop-up cinema
In a report going before the planning committee on Thursday, 2 February, officer Jonathan Kenyon recommends approval for the scheme, subject to 26 conditions.
He writes: “This is a large and complex site which requires a new use.
“The scheme has been robustly informed by Heritage Appraisals that provide an understanding of significance of the heritage assets affected and on balance allow for redevelopment whilst avoiding harm on areas of highest significance.
“The public benefits of the proposed new uses for the site also weigh in favour of the scheme as does the enhancement of the existing landscape in terms of its recreational value and provision of public access.”