Historic Grade One building undergoes refurbishment

Refurbishment is underway to transform one of the UK’s most unusual historic buildings into a 21st century café and community hub.

The Red Tower, near Navigation Road in York, was the scene of a medieval murder over a trade dispute during its construction 500 years ago.

Croft Farm Construction  is refurbishing the Grade One Listed building; which was originally part-funded by King Richard III, before his death at Bosworth Field in 1485, and later completed by his successor as the only section of the city’s medieval walls built from brick rather than magnesian limestone.

The current owners, not-for-profit Red Tower Community Interest Company (CIC), have now instructed the work to commence on the internal fit-out in a £90,000 contract . CIC secured a 30-year lease from City of York Council in February 2017.

After refurbishment, the property, a Scheduled Ancient Monument,  will house meeting and events space, a café, kitchen and toilet as a community hub for residents, visitors and businesses. Funding is from Yorventure’s Landfill Communities Fund, City of York Council and Two Ridings Community Foundation. Profits will subsidise community use.

Managing director of Croft Farm Construction, Phil Gledall, said: “It is wonderful to be part of a project breathing new life into a property which has lain empty for centuries because no one knew what to do with it until Red Tower CIC developed its vision to revitalise it as a community hub.

“The structure and listings associated with The Red Tower restrict how we can work and we are applying traditional skills and attention to detail, such as fastening into mortar joints rather than brickwork, so as not to damage the ancient fabric.”

The Navigation Road area was affected by severe floods during Christmas 2015 destroying a pop-up café, run by volunteers who now run Red Tower CIC, and the refurbishment, designed by York architects, Holland Brown, incorporates measures to minimise flood damage, including a steel, glass-enclosed staircase, polished concrete work surfaces and kitchen cabinets on castors for fast removal.

Red Tower CIC chairman, Barry Beckwith, added: ”The Red Tower has been dormant for far too long and it is our duty to provide a quality community resource. We are delighted that work has started and are confident that Croft Farm Construction will do a first-rate job.”


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