Go-ahead for Westwood School, the former Scarborough High School for Boys, to be converted into flats

Plans to transform a former Scarborough school, described as an “architectural gem”, into 50 flats have been approved.

By Carl Gavaghan, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 4:24 pm

In January YPG Developments Ltd applied to Scarborough Council to convert the former Westwood building in the town into 28 residential apartments.

The school was once part of Yorkshire Coast College before closing in 2017. It had been home to Scarborough High School for Boys.

A further three-storey block of 22 residential; flats would be created on the site of a former ceramics workshop near the school, along with 50 parking spaces.

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Westwood School is to be converted into 28 apartments, with another 22 on the site of a former ceramics workshop nearby.

The plans went before the council’s planning and development committee today and were unanimously approved.

Cllr David Jeffels welcomed the development in the town centre and said the plans would protect the character of the listed building.

He said: “We have here an architectural gem, one of Scarborough’s iconic buildings.

Scarborough High School for Boys, pictured in 1946.

“It ticks so many boxes by bringing a wonderful old building back into economic use and providing some first class accommodation right in the town centre.”

Cllr Jeffels added: “I think it is going to be of considerable benefit to the town as a whole, economically, socially and environmentally as well and I warmly welcome it.”

In its submission to the council YPG Developments Ltd said it would look to retain the character of the listed building.

It stated: “The conversion will be sensitive to the historic and protected nature of the listed building with minimal external alterations which will ensure the appearance and character of the site will not be altered significantly.

“We have here an architectural gem, one of Scarborough’s iconic buildings."

“Internally the large spaces within the former school building will be sensitively divided to provide modern living spaces whilst retaining historic features and the original layout including the hallways and classrooms.”

Vehicles will still enter and exit the site through the existing entrance onto Valley Bridge Road.

Originally, the plans were for 32 units in the Westwood campus building and 18 in the new build; this was changed during the process.

The new three-storey building has also been moved to take it further away from the nearby North Yorkshire County Council Pupil Referral Unit.

A relief panel by the sculptor Henry Charles Fehr.

As part of the development the historic Theatre in the Round, which housed the world premiere of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black before it transferred to become one the most famous plays in West End history, will now become a “co-working space” and will include both an open-plan office area, private meeting rooms, and toilet facilities.

This change was made following objections from Historic England and the Theatres Trust to the original proposal.

A dozen objections were lodged by members of the public, some of whom wanted the building to be kept for artistic use.

The building which housed the former college campus was opened in 1902 and was called the Municipal School, or ‘The Muni’ by the locals. It was designed by notable architect Edwin Cooper and contains intricate relief panels by the sculptor Henry Charles Fehr.

It was the Boys’ High School from 1922 to 1959 until that school moved to near the hospital, occupying the site of what is now Graham School.

In 1976, part of what was then Westwood County Modern School was converted to become the Stephen Joseph Theatre. The theatre at Westwood opened with a revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s Mr Whatnot on October 26 1976.

The three-vomitorium theatre design and shape was created for the move to Westwood, and was then reproduced exactly at the new Stephen Joseph Theatre venue on Northway.

Famous alumni of Westwood include novelist Storm Jameson and author Leo Walmsley.