Lancaster Moor Hospital transformed into luxury flats
PUBLISHED: 00:00 02 June 2017
Copyright - Jon Brook
A local developer has breathed life back into an abandoned Lancaster building.
A vast, gothic asylum on the edge of Lancaster has been transformed into a thriving community of almost 200 homes by Manchester based specialist developer, PJ Livesey. The Grade II listed building, which had lain empty for a decade, was built in 1882 as an extension to the existing Lancaster Moor asylum which once housed more than 3,000 patients.
The conversion project was expected to take ten years, but the demand from buyers combined with the skill of the team meant that the project was completed in less than half the time. Using a combination of modern technical skill alongside master craftsmanship, the building is a fantastic example of how to unlock difficult brownfield sites by bringing listed buildings back into use.
‘Lancaster Moor has been a project of significance in so many ways and completing the final phase of build is a landmark for the many people who have been involved,’ said PJ Livesey founder and managing director, Peter Livesey. In the company’s portfolio of 110 listed heritage buildings saved in the last 35 years, Lancaster Moor has been a stand-out triumph, picking up a host of property industry awards for both the scale of the ambition and the quality of the craftsmanship and finish.
‘It’s a celebration of what has been achieved here, the scale of which should not be underestimated.’
At one point, the building was used as a mainstream NHS hospital and then a local clinic before closing in 1999. Demolition was then considered as the only option for the abandoned site, but in 2011 it was transferred to the Homes and Communities Agency which then worked with Lancaster City Council and English Heritage to prepare the site for development, investing £3m through its Accelerated Land Disposal Programme for enabling and infrastructure works including new access, demolition of redundant outbuildings and asbestos removal.
PJ Livesey was appointed in November 2012 to take on the listed building elements of the 13-acre site, with Carlisle-based Story Homes selected to deliver the majority of new build. In total, the project has provided 440 homes.
‘Everything about Lancaster Moor is unique; its scale, its history and the location. No two apartments are the same. In effect, the teams have built 170 individual properties within the confines of a listed building,’ said director, Georgina Livesey, who also commented on the fact that agents had advised them that there was no market for apartments there.
‘However, from the outset, our buyers understood the vision about what we could create at Lancaster Moor. We consulted widely and developed a strong and trusted working relationship with city council planners, conservation officers and building control staff to ensure things went smoothly.’
The building’s exterior, made of a local stone, had to be steam cleaned to preserve its integrity and reveal its original soft pink hue. Up to 80 per cent of materials on site have been recycled and reused, including original roof tiles, guttering, doors and flooring, and a stone masonry team were able to re-cut and reuse existing stone. The conversion also includes the majestic main tower that is now a spectacular four-storey home with open roof terrace.
In August 2014, the first residents Ben Carradice and Gemma Ritchie moved in, with Gemma saying: ‘It felt like home from the start and we love living here. It is a very special place and we feel it’s a good investment as well as a really nice place to live. We have no plans to move.’