The Council criticized plans to transform the historic Governor’s House in Northallerton Victorian Prison into a sports hall

There are several listed buildings on the former site of Northallerton Prison
There are several listed buildings on the former site of Northallerton Prison

The council is set to consider a recommendation from its planning officers to approve the conversion of part of the early 19th century Governor’s House on the former site of Northallerton Prison as part of its £ 17million conveyor belt redevelopment program.

The proposal to create a fitness room, install glass screens and enclose the stairs inside the building are among the final parts of the regeneration program.

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When the prison’s closure was announced in 2013 after 230 years of use as a prison, with the loss of 135 jobs, the city’s mayor declared it a “disaster”. The news came a month after it was announced that the city’s Rural Payments Agency office was shutting down and 350 jobs had been relocated.

The joint venture between the board and developer of the Yorkshire Wykeland Group has since seen much of the prison quadrangle of pre-1830 buildings transformed.

The former prison site contains five listed buildings, some of which are believed to have been designed by 18th-century architect John Carr, who is best known for creating Harewood House.

After the purchase of the site by the city council, the public was very interested when it offered tours of the historic buildings.

The Governor’s House Historic England Grade II listing indicates that its relatively conservative design and features such as its original staircase are among the reasons it was considered a building of national significance, alongside its historical interest.

The list adds that “the establishment of a jail and courthouse in Northallerton has been a factor in the development of the town as the county seat of North Riding County.”

Government policy states that where developments would cause damage to a designated heritage property, applicants must provide a clear and convincing rationale and that the damage must be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal, including ensuring its optimal use and viable.

An officers report to a council planning committee meeting on Thursday acknowledges that while the governor’s house is a key feature of the historic quadrangle, in the master plan of the conveyor belts, work at the site has in principle retained the historic form buildings. .

It does indicate that the “damage pool” of the proposal “is at the higher end of the less-than-substantial spectrum”, as the changes would be removable and the development would not have a significant impact on historical or historical features. the heritage of the building.

The report states: “Incorporating a public use into this building increases public awareness of local history and is essential to safeguard this heritage asset for the future.

“Overall, the completion of this project would positively contribute to sustainability and creation of places and bring significant regeneration benefits. Use of this building would allow the public to better understand the historical context of the entire site, not just the Governor’s Building.

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