by simongalton on 6 June, 2011
Following repeated arson attacks and criminal damage on the Hall in recent weeks, Cllr Amanda Burrell and I attended a site meeting on 26th May with owners of the Hall and key agencies including Planning, Building Control, English Heritage and the Police. I was shocked at the deterioration of the hall since I was last on site about a year ago and it was in a poor state then.
The owners want to demolish an extension built on the rear of the Hall in the early part of the last century where the youths are getting in and also an out building near properties on Beeby Road. Council offices advised that the wooden boarding on the ground floor windows should be replaced with metal shutters and the owners have agreed to do this. Scraptoft Hall is a grade 2* listed building which means that listed building consent will be required before the demolition can be undertaken. However I am hopeful that everyone present at the meeting accepted that these works are necessary and urgent to protect what remains left of the Hall as well as addressing the vandalism and anti-social behaviour currently impacting on the lives of residents living near the site. The Police have received numerous calls about incidents within the grounds and informed the meeting that they have stepped up their patrols of the site.
In the longer term, the need to find a viable future for the Hall and its grounds is still the biggest issue facing Scraptoft and one which needs to be resolved urgently for the sake of the building as well as the local community. Planning permission is in place for the restoration of the Hall and the development of an extra care village comprising 103 units of accommodation for older people. Securing this permission was a long drawn out process which ended at appeal (There is an article about the appeal elsewhere on my website) and we were all hopeful this would lead to a scheme being progressed. The problem now has nothing to do with planning but the raising of capital to finance the building works prior to the units being sold. This would probably not have been an issue 5 years ago but the present economic climate and the reluctance of the banks to lend money has made it impossible for the owners to obtain the necessary finance to get started.
The situation has necessitated a rethink of the concept and some changes may be needed to achieve a viable development. The owners are hoping to find a suitable partner with experience in developing and managing a care village. Discussions are continuing and we understand some progress has been made. A successful model requires a care home to be at the centre of the ‘village’ providing administrative and communal facilities including leisure, a restaurant and retail outlets to the whole site as well as the wider local community. We have asked the owners to also consider the provision of much needed primary care health facilities which could be used by residents as well as the wider community.
The owners have been requested to present their proposals to the community when they have the basis of a scheme for consultation.Leave a comment