Historic Quaker landmark is earmarked for development

The site of one of the world’s oldest mental health institutions in the heart of historic York is being put up for sale.

The 40 acre plot on Heslington Road, which features a main building opened in 1796 by the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), was previously operated as an inpatient mental health facility by The Retreat.

The building and associated land has become vacant as part of a wider repurposing of the Retreat’s Heslington Road estate.

Potential future uses could include residential living with possible social housing offers or a range of hospitality/leisure uses.

Matthew Jones, director in Savills’ Leeds-based development team, who is handling the sale, said: “Given the significant heritage and legacy of this site, Savills has been working closely with both the City of York Council and Historic England throughout the year.

“The site itself, in a prime location, represents a unique development opportunity with a range of potential future uses.

“Located within one mile of the city centre and in close proximity to the University of York and York Railway Station, we are anticipating a great deal of interest in this site.”

David Robson, chairman of the Board of Trustees at The Retreat, added: “The way mental health services are delivered is changing at pace, so we need to re-think how we use all of our estate to best effect.

“The development of more community-focused services has led us to develop alternative ways of providing services and this in turn means releasing some of these buildings to better alternative uses.

“We are in discussions with stakeholders and community leaders about possible future uses for the remainder of the estate but are committed to maintaining the Quaker legacy of the site and providing facilities which benefit local people and our local communities.”

It is hoped that a potential developer can be identified later in the year with a view to working up outline plans in the spring of 2021.

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