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Plans to create apartments at St Monica’s Convent in Skipton approved
3:32pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
Plans to build 70 apartments for older people in the grounds of St Monica’s Convent, Skipton, have been given the go-ahead.
The St Stephen’s Parish wanted to concentrate in the future on the care of the elderly, Craven District Council’s planning committee was told.
The Catholic church, which comes under the Diocese of Leeds, intends to demolish later additions to the original convent and build apartments, community facilities and parish meeting rooms.
The large site stretches from Gargrave Road to Raikes Road and is bounded by Ermysted’s Grammar School to the west and Castle View Terrace to the east.
It includes the church itself, St Stephen’s Primary School and the former convent, which is made up of one original Grade II-listed section and three later additions.
The former convent itself, built in 1861, is to be refurbished, while four new buildings will replace later extensions.
The scheme will include 70 apartments, a new parish hall, community meeting rooms and priest accommodation. The apartments will be aimed at the over-55s and will include 14 one-bedroom, 55 two-bedroom and one three-bedroom apartments. There will also be communal facilities, a lounge and laundry room.
Planning committee members were told by parish priest Andrew Summersgill that the church wanted to focus on the care of the elderly.
He said it had taken a long time and much consultation for the plans to be put together, and he hoped for the support of the council.
“We have tried for the last 40 years to make use of these buildings. They were a youth centre and we tried to use them as a primary school,” he said.
He said the plans represented the best use of the site, which would mean a brownfield, previously-used site, being bought back into use.
Coun Paul English said he did not like the design of the apartment blocks, but added that beauty was in the eye of the beholder.
“I think it is a good scheme and I welcome it,” he said.
Coun Alan Sutcliffe (Cons) said he thought it was a brave step by the diocese and believed the demolition of the buildings would have to be a very careful process.