Green light expected soon on £15m plan to transform historic Harrogate building
Last updated Sep 1, 2023
Graeme Lee at Grove House
Graeme Lee in front of Grove House

Plans to transform one of Harrogate’s most historic buildings into a care home and community facility are expected to finally be approved shortly.

Grove House on Skipton Road was the home of Victorian inventor, philanthropist and mayor Samson Fox.

The grade two listed building later became a First World War hospital and the headquarters of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes until care home owner Graeme Lee bought it for £3 million four years ago.

Mr Lee, chief executive of Springfield Healthcare, wants to invest £15 million to create what he calls “the holy grail of care”.

Under the plans, Grove House will be converted to accommodate 23 independent living apartments. A 70-bed care home and eight houses providing supported living for over-65s will be built on land alongside it.

An artist’s impression of how part of the scheme would look.

Mr Lee, whose company owns seven care homes, including Harcourt Gardens in Harrogate, had hoped to begin work this spring but planning permission has still to be granted.

However, he told the Stray Ferret he believed he was now “very close” to securing consent after working through a series of conditions agreed with planning officers at North Yorkshire Council.

He said:

“These are the final mashings of a four-year journey that has been tortuous and difficult with covid among the many hoops we have had to jump through.”

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Mr Lee said he had been asked to provide further information about biodiversity and he expected this to be resolved in September.

If this happens, work on the ground could begin in April and the home could open in autumn 2025.

Mr Lee said the building was deteriorating due to the delays and it cost tens of thousands of pounds a year to maintain the site. He added:

“I felt like it was so close last year and it’s just been slowness and delays and wanting another report but we are nearly there.”

Grove House

Grove House was Victorian philanthropist Samson Fox’s home.

Schoolchildren from nearby Grove Road Community Primary School use the gardens for outdoor activities and there are wider plans for the site to be used to bring together residents, young people and the local community.

Mr Lee said:

“It’s an amazing opportunity to create an intergenerational care community that will be nationally recognised. It’s something unique for Harrogate.”

Trevor Watson, assistant director for planning at the council, said:

The application is not in position to be determined at this stage as we are awaiting further information that has been requested from the applicant.

“Once that is received it will be determined by officers in accordance with our scheme of delegation.

“No referral request to send the application to committee has been made by councillors.”