The properties, running from 78 to 82a on the town’s high street, had been unoccupied for years so the borough council agreed to invest around £1million so that they could be returned to use and no longer a blight on the town.
The borough council purchased the unique Grade II listed properties – that date back to the mid to late 18th century – at the end of 2019, which consist of three ground-floor retail units and four first floor residences. Work started the following year after planning permission and listed building consent was granted.
One of the properties, which was in better condition and didn’t require renovating, is currently occupied by Knaresborough Exotic Rescue. The two remaining retail properties are being advertised for rent, while the residences are being marketed for sale with a long-term leasehold.
Councillor Graham Swift, Harrogate Borough Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, enterprise and economic development, said:
These properties had been a blight on the high street in Knaresborough for several years. But after they were brought to our attention by Councillor Darling, we recognised the potential they could have to provide both homes and business spaces, we took the necessary steps to purchase them.
The properties have been truly transformed and I hope that this investment in Knaresborough acts as a catalyst for other property owners to carry out refurbishment works for the benefit of everyone.
Mrs Hassall, who lived at one of the renovated properties in 1949 wrote to Andrew Jones MP to share her thanks for the project, said:
I am so very pleased that 82a Knaresborough High Street has been renovated. I lived there when I first got married in June 1949. The ground floor was the Gill’s butchers shop, my in-laws lived on the first floor and my new husband and I lived on the top floor.”It was quite a bad state then, the kitchen roof looked like it could collapse at any moment. However, we decorated it and made it as nice as we could. It was wartime and we didn’t have much money.
It is good to see these properties being renovated.
This project follows the council’s £500,000 investment at Conyngham Hall business centre in Knaresborough and £300,000 at Phoenix Business Park in Ripon. Both offer highly desirable modern and energy-efficient facilities for businesses considering a move to their first office or larger accommodation.