Work to start 'imminently' to help protect historic Warwick building after public outcry at its condition

Work is due to take place 'imminently' to help protect one of Warwick’s most historic buildings after a public outcry at its current state.

Over the last week there has been a public outcry from residents on social media about the state of the neglected remains of the Master’s House, known locally as the Leper Hospital.

The Leper Hospital site in Warwick

The Leper Hospital site in Warwick

Residents have been calling for action labelling the site as a ‘disgrace’ and this week Warwick District Council has said that it will be carrying out emergency works ‘imminently’.

In August the council agreed to take on the emergency works if the land owners did not respond to their notice.

Read more: Work set to take place to help stop historic Warwick building collapsing

Addressing the resident’s concerns, Terry Morris, town and district councillor for the Saltisford ward in Warwick, said: “The land is owned by a private individual and Warwick District Council have had to go through a very lengthy process to get to a point where the buildings can be protected, then renovated.”

“I’m delighted to confirm that contractors are scheduled to start work on-site this week.”

The Master’s House is a timber-framed building with foundations dating back to the 12th century and a structure dating from the 15th century.

In 1545 the hospital was taken over by Richard Fisher who used the buildings to help the poor. The Master’s House and chapel were converted into cottages in the 17th to 18th century.

Speaking about the Leper Hospital, a spokesperson from Warwick District Council said: “The council is currently exercising its powers under Section 54 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and has instructed a suitable contractor to carry out urgent works to the Master’s House.

“The first stage of this work involved the construction of an internal scaffolding in order to support the roof structure, relieving the load at lower levels, and to stabilise the building laterally.

“It was initially envisaged that the tarpaulin (previously blown off in March due to strong winds) could be reinstated.

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“The council then sought independent advice from a structural engineer who highlighted issues with the poor longevity of tarpaulins, the risk of disturbing or losing more tiles and the high risk of providing a very damp environment internally which will prevent any drying out of the timbers and promote more timber decay from fungal activity.

"It was therefore agreed that the provision of an independent roof supported on scaffolding, which will promote air flow but prevent water penetration, would be the best method of protecting the building.

“We are expecting these works to commence imminently.”

Read more: Case study 1: The Leper Hospital, Saltisford