It’s been 12 years since Avant Homes bought High Royds, a former psychiatric hospital on the edge of Menston.
Renamed Chevin Park, the final phase of development is underway with the conversion of the hospital’s Grade II listed clock tower. It is the last of the gothic Victorian buildings to be turned into apartments and houses, which are priced from £229,950 for a vast one-bedroom flat to £335,000 for a house and £439,950 for a luxurious two-bedroom apartment.
Boasting mosaic floors and stained glass windows, it was High Royds administrative heart with offices, a boardroom, a bank, shops and a magnificent ballroom where patients enjoyed regular dances. The ballroom will soon be a lounge for Clock Tower residents.
“A lot of people don’t realise that High Royds was a village with a train line, a bank, a post office, farm land and a ballroom. It was very progressive,” says Avant sales manager Wendy Crossley.
The redevelopment of the buildings began in 2006, three years after the hospital closed.
Dealing with dilapidation, preserving period features and the structural issues that come with a conversion posed challenges for site manager Matt Ellis.
He has been crucial to the success of the redevelopment and has won 13 site management awards for his work. He has built and retained a team of artisan builders and craftsmen while working closely with architects and conservation officers.
“Everything has been a challenge but the team we have here has a ‘can do’ attitude and that has helped,” he says. “We are really proud of giving this place a new lease of life.”
An exterior refurbishment has restored the traditional stone, which is now lined inside with insulation. Character has been maintained with timber sash windows and doors.
Getting more natural light into the properties has been achieved with roof lanterns, roof light windows and mezzanine floors.
Chevin Park’s previous life has been no deterrent for buyers and properties sold well even in the recession. This is largely thanks to its location in Menston, which has a train service to Leeds and Ilkley, and the setting, which includes 243 acres of parkland.
“Its former use hasn’t been an issue and the properties sold well even through the recession. Only a couple of people have mentioned it but when they see the stunning setting and look round, they realise that it has a lovely, peaceful atmosphere. I’ m going to miss working here,” says Wendy Crossley.
Along with the 440 homes in the High Royds buildings, Chevin Park also has new-build homes in the grounds bringing the total number of dwellings to 800.
Clock Tower, Chevin Park, Menston. Prices from £229,950 www.avanthomes.co.uk