Plans put historic Priory House at the centre of Cardigan Hospital redevelopment
Cardigan’s historic Priory House is set to be the centerpiece of a new development proposed by Wales & West Housing.
The plans aim to bring low-carbon, eco-friendly housing for older people, offices, community facilities and public walk ways to the former hospital site.
WWH commissioned award-winning Welsh architects Gaunt Francis to consider the historic and architectural significance of the site in drawing up proposals for plans for 34 apartments homes for older people and office space for up to 60 WWH staff.
The apartments are designed to reflect the architecture of Priory House and the neighbouring Grade II-listed St Mary’s Church with a courtyard and cloistered walkways for residents.
They would be built to be zero-carbon using modern heat pumps, high levels of insulation and dual aspect windows to make them efficient to heat in winter and keep cool in summer. Each apartment will have a private balcony overlooking the courtyard and church. They would be rented to local people on Ceredigion County Council’s housing register.
WWH has commissioned Asbri Planning to carry out a 28-day Statutory Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) which opens on April 21 and ends on May 19 to give local people the chance to see and comment on the plans.
The plans include:
- building new offices to the south linking with Priory House and creating a regional base for both Wales & West Housing and its in-house maintenance company Cambria Maintenance Services;
- creating a public walk way through the grounds and along the River Teifi;
- demolishing the high stone wall known locally as the “prison wall” along the gateway at Pont-Y-Cleifion and reusing stone on lower boundary walls;
- converting the grand room on the ground floor of the Nash building to create a community café with public access to the original curved staircase. The café would be run by a local social enterprise.
Alan Francis, Director at Gaunt Francis, said: “We understand this is an important site to the history of Cardigan.
“The conversions carried out by the health board at the start of the 20th century have not been kind to the building and we would demolish the newer hospital extensions to make Priory House stand out as the centre piece of our development.
“We are excited by the designs. Our architects Gaunt Francis have spent a lot of time researching the history of the site and its relationship with the town, as well as considering the many comments and the feedback received from the public and other stakeholders”
Wales & West Housing Group Deputy Chief Executive, Shayne Hembrow, said.
“The plans we are putting forward have been updated based on the feedback our architects received from local people and stakeholders who attended the online public engagement events they held in February of this year.
“The result is an exciting, innovative design that creates much-needed new energy-efficient homes and offices that will complement the historic buildings in the area. By relocating our offices to Cardigan we will also bringing more people and benefits to the town.”
“We are particularly excited by the plans to make the Nash house a focal point for the development and open out the beautiful grounds for use by the public. We are open to ideas of ways that we can develop the gardens as a benefit for the community.”
“Feedback from local people who met the architects and saw the plans at our virtual engagement events on Zoom has been very positive.”
“We think we have a great opportunity to create a development that will be of benefit to the people of Cardigan in this important position at the entrance to the town.”
To view the Public Consultation visit https://www.asbriplanning.co.uk/statutory-pre-application-consultation/land-at-cardigan-hospital/
As part of the public consultation in February 2021, the architects’ created videos for the scheme. The plans in these videos have been updated for planning based on the feedback received, but the video gives a good insight into the thinking that has informed the designs for the site.
Gaunt Francis Architects blog page gauntfrancisarchitects.blog
History of the site
- The site dates back to the 12th century when the medieval priory Benedictine Priory of St Mary was founded on the site.
- In the 18th century the Priory changed hands many times and in 1789 celebrated architect John Nash, famous for designing Buckingham Palace and London’s Regent Street, was commissioned by owner Elizabeth Johnes of Croft to plan a new Priory House.
- Throughout the 19th century the house changed hands until a syndicate of local people acquired the building and converted it into a hospital to treat soldiers returning from WWI. The Memorial Hospital was opened in July 1922 by the wife of then prime minister David Lloyd George. In 1948 ownership passed to the National Health Service and the building was extended and redeveloped.
- It has stood empty since 2019, when Hywel Dda Health Board opened a new integrated care centre in Cardigan.