Work has completed on Cookridge House, a stunning development of desperately needed affordable homes, in a unique setting adjacent to Ireland Woods, overlooking Horsforth.
Leading housing provider Stonewater worked with contractor Vistry Partnerships and other partners to transform the dilapidated Grade II listed building, a former hospital dating back to Victorian times, to create 30 homes.
The striking gothic building fell derelict after closing in 2007 when its facilities were transferred to St James's Hospital in Leeds.
Now, Cookridge House is helping to alleviate the shortage of affordable housing in the Leeds area, with initial lettings made to those on the Leeds Homes register for people in housing need.
Work involved refurbishing the building, transforming it into 24 homes – five one-bedroom flats, five two-bedroom flats, five two-bedroom town houses and one four-bedroom town house – for social rent, plus eight two-bedroom town houses for shared ownership.
An additional six two-bedroom houses were built around the original building, available for shared ownership.
Each house benefits from its own private garden, allocated parking spaces and access to a communal garden, all amid landscaped grounds.
To create a real sense of place for residents and locals, the scheme also features public artwork reflecting the area and its history, including decorative metalwork by a Yorkshire artist and an information lectern telling the old hospital building’s story in words and pictures.
As well as being in a central, sustainable location with excellent local amenities and transport links, the scheme is contributing to the community’s green credentials with the installation of charging points for electrical cars.
The scheme has also involved working with the community to create opportunities for local people whilst breathing new life into this iconic landmark building, giving it a purpose for today while securing its future so that it can play a key role in easing the region’s housing crisis.
This included employing local apprentices and trainees to work on the scheme, gaining valuable skills and experience on a complex and challenging but interesting and hugely rewarding project. Two of the apprentices who worked on Cookridge House have been retained by Vistry to work on other new developments.
Chris Montague, Director of Development (North and East) at Stonewater said:
“We recognise the acute need for affordable homes in Yorkshire and Cookridge House is the first scheme Stonewater has delivered in the north utilising £1.23m funding from its strategic partnership with Homes England.
“Cookridge House is part of a thriving community created by the wider development of the old hospital site, which includes family housing, special needs education, retirement living and elderly care accommodation.
“Having worked closely with Leeds City Council to ensure the development was carried out sympathetically and sensitively to make the most of the building’s architectural features. We’re proud to have delivered these modern, comfortable homes to people who need them most, whilst also boosting the local economy, helping with the area’s social and financial recovery as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic.”
Andrew Poyner, Managing Director at Vistry Partnerships (Yorkshire), said:
“We are proud to have been able to bring such a landmark building back to life and provide quality, affordable homes. It has been a pleasure working with Stonewater throughout the planning and construction, and we look forward to building many more homes together in Leeds and across the wider region.”
Barry Cummins, National Development Director at Homes England, said:
“We are delighted with the completion of this scheme as it will bring 30 much-needed affordable homes to the local community, set in the beautiful grounds of a Grade II listed building. Our work in Leeds is part of a broader effort to unlock housing growth opportunities in this city region including focusing on those that bring historic assets back to life such as Cookridge Hospital.”
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s Executive Board Member for Communities, said: “I am delighted to see the completion of Cookridge House, not only for what it means to housing in Leeds, but the fact that it is building on and supporting the fantastic community that already exists there.
“As a Council we know all too well the shortage of affordable housing across the country. It’s a huge problem and its one that we are always trying to solve locally. By working in partnership with Stonewater we have been able to realise yet another development of affordable homes in the city. Its developments like these that are so crucial for helping people to get a foot on the housing ladder and start building a home.”
Nicola Thompson, Director at estate agents Adair Paxton, said: “It’s a stunning development that incorporates the grandeur and character of this lovely old building, whilst being fully refurbished and modernised. Set within lovely, landscaped grounds, Stonewater has created an idyllic development that has given a disused hospital a viable future as smart, modern residential homes.”