One of York’s most distinctive buildings is lined up for a major makeover.
The Red House in Minster Yard is set to have its roof stripped of all its slate and lead and replaced.
It will also have an 18th century chimney removed as well as internal alterations, according to plans submitted to City of York Council.
A design statement says: “The weathering surfaces and roof finish of the Red House are in poor condition and due for replacement, as identified in inspection reports and surveys.
“The chimney stacks are also in a poor state of repair and have been subject to emergency safety works in the last 12 months.”
The building is owned by York Minster. It wants to replace the roof with solar tiles, which have already been installed in two other buildings in the Minster estate – number 1 Deangate and the Refectory restaurant.
The tiles look similar to natural Welsh slate but generate energy in the same way as solar panels.
History of the Red House, Minster Yard
No 6 Minster Yard, aka the Red House, was built in about 1740 as the Prebendal house for Strensall. In more recent times it has been used as a private kindergarten. St William’s College is in the background and the massive bulk of York Minster on the left.
Under the plans, the south-west chimney stack will be removed.
This is partly due to its state of disrepair and associated safety concerns. “The unsympathetic cement render finish has been detaching and falling to the ground off the steeply pitched roofs,” the architects say.
“Nowhere is this more of a concern than the south-west chimney, with the children’s play area located directly below.”
The chimney also casts a shadow on the solar tiles which would reduce their energy generation by about a third.
“The chimney stack proposed to be removed likely dates from the re-roofing around 1786, but may contain older 18th century fabric, but has also seen alterations over time,” the application says.
The documents add: “The design proposals address the poor condition of the existing roof covering but seek to prepare the building to remain in viable, sustainable use for the lifespan of the new slate roof, in the face of growing climate change challenges.
“It is hoped that the principles adopted for this building may serve as precedent for wider application across the Minster’s Precinct portfolio.”
You can read and comment on the planning application here.