An ambitious project to transform a derelict former Leeds school into a new £5m care village has begun.
The scheme will see Seacroft Grange, which dates back to 1627, become the centrepiece of a modern new care complex which developers hope will become a hub for the whole community as well as creating around 100 jobs.
Seacroft Grange Care Village will include 17 self-contained apartments, 79 en suite bedrooms as well as spa and day care facilities and a community cafe.
The plans are the brainchild of Graeme Lee, chairman of Springfield Healthcare Group, based in Garforth.
He said: “It’s been a five year plan and I’m delighted to have brought this project from vision to reality. We’ve been so overwhelmed by the support from the local residents because this is all about being at the hart of the Seacroft community.”
As well as day care, the village will offer specialist intermediate care, specialist nursing care and continuing and palliative care.
Springfield worked extensively with local residents on plans for the Grade II listed building, which many older residents in Seacroft have long-held memories of.
Lily Woods, chair of the Seacroft Green Residents Association said: “We’re very excited about what’s happening and we’ve given the project our full support.
“There’s been a lot of good work done here and this is going to help turn the area around even more. It’s such a beautiful old building that’s been empty far too long and it will be great to see it back in use.”
The house was originally known as Tottie Hall and was the home of the Tottie family.
In 1837 it became the property of John Wilson, when it became known as Seacroft Grange and was used a primary school from 1941 until 1972, then as an Adult Education Centre.
But the building has now stood derelict for well over a decade and residents are looking forward to it getting a new lease of life.
Delighted resident Robert Taylor-Marshall, 66, said: “I think it’s absolutely marvellous. We’ve all been waiting for this for a long, long time.”
Work on the village is expected to be completed by October 2013. The project has been partly funded by the government’s Business Growth Fund.