Nearly 100 homes planned for listed former psychiatric centre

The Retreat

An historic North Yorkshire site could be turned into 95 homes, if planners agree.

PJ Livesey Group has lodged a full planning and listed building application with City of York Council for The Retreat on Heslington Road. It wants to convert listed properties at the former psychiatric centre to form 84 homes, with a further 11 new build homes also proposed.

The Retreat opened in 1796 and offered pioneering psychiatric care from the Religious Society of Friends, otherwise known as the Quakers. The 37.3-acre site closed to in-patients in 2018.

A contract was agreed on the sale of The Retreat to PJ Livesey Group earlier this year.

Permission is now also being sought for mixed-use space within the site’s former recreation hall, demolition of extensions and ancillary buildings, provision of car parking as well as associated landscaping and other work.

Along with the proposed residential development, restoration and enhancement of the land’s historic park and gardens is a key part of the development.

The applicant says it aims to provide extensive private and public garden areas, open space and meadow for the benefit of residents, the local community and biodiversity.

A planning statement accompanying the application explains: “The proposed development represents a previously developed site, with the principle of residential conversion considered acceptable.

“Given the historic significance of the site, careful consideration has been given to designing a scheme which respects the historic character of the buildings and gardens.

“The development will provide much needed housing to a borough which, in the absence of an adopted Local Plan, has a significant housing land supply shortfall.”

The statement notes the scheme, if approved, would also support 160 direct and indirect jobs during the construction phase, with £16.8m GVA in economic output contributed over a two-year period.