DEVELOPER Skipton Properties says it is ‘delighted’ to be redeveloping the former St Stephen’s Catholic School in Skipton to ten new homes.

A spokesperson said demolition of redundant buildings at the site in Gargrave Road was underway with main building work due to start in the middle of March.

“The two listed buildings at the site – Holywell Cottage and St Stephen’s School – date back to the 1850s and have a rich history and important significance to the community.

“We have experience and expertise at restoring historic buildings within conservation areas to their former glory, and we consulted with a heritage expert, Historic England and Craven District Council to ensure that our plans honour this site and will preserve it for many more years to come.

“We will retain many original features, including the dramatic ‘gothic’ style doors and windows, stone corbels and exterior walls and cast iron fireplaces, will use reclaimed stone to carry out careful repairs to the exteriors and will reinstate decorative plasterwork to the interiors.”

The spokesperson added: “The original buildings, which variously housed a school, the parish priest and a convent over the decades but had lain empty for many years prior to our purchase, will be sensitively converted into two three-bedroom houses and five two-bedroom duplex apartments.

“We have also been granted permission to build three new three-bedroom homes on empty land at the rear, which will complement the existing architecture and blend into their surroundings.

“We will maintain existing mature trees at the site and plant new ones, as well as creating a communal green area for residents, who will also benefit from the site’s outstanding location. We are delighted to have been given the opportunity to create 10 beautiful new homes for local people in our company’s home town.”

In its planning decision notice, Craven District Council said: “On balance, it is considered that the works to the listed building are outweighed by the benefits that the proposal would bring.”