Project Name: Barnes Village, Phase 1

Location: Cheadle, Stockport, SK8

Date Completed: June 2017

Architect: Henley Construct Ltd

Developer: Henley Homes Ltd

Construction Company: Henley Construct Ltd

Barnes Hospital (founded by Robert Barnes, a renowned Victorian philanthropist) opened in 1875 as a convalescent hospital for the Manchester Royal Infirmary, an example of the French Gothic Revival style so prevalent in municipal architecture of the period. It closed in 1999 and began to fall into dereliction soon after, despite its listed status. The condition in 2015 was one of extreme decay: open to the elements from roof to basement in parts; extensively vandalised and stripped of period features; once home to squatters; still home to wildlife, asbestos, invasive plants, and rumours of ghosts, and much of the estate requiring soil remediation. Sadly, all decorative finishes and plasterwork, along with fireplaces and interior floors and woodwork were either missing entirely or damaged beyond repair.

The original planning permission featured blocks of apartments densely sited within the grounds.  Henley Homes’ demographic research showed that family homes were more desirable and so created a new scheme consisting of 1-3 bedroom townhouses, apartments, duplexes within the Hospital building itself, 4-bed townhouses attached to the Hospital building and 2-4 bedroom family homes in the 16.5 acre grounds. Henley Homes were to restore the listed façade to its former glory, to create new apartments within and around the hospital; to create new build houses which borrow from the architectural language of the hospital, but which are resolutely modern and attractive on their own terms; to create an estate plan to retain as much communal space in the grounds as possible, while maintaining efficient flow of traffic to new homes; to mitigate traffic noise from surrounding roads; to revise planning to create family homes not apartment blocks.

Henley Homes have stayed true to the nature of the space, yet each apartment has the characteristics and advantages of a contemporary property. The Henley design team found a way to complete the surrounding development to enhance rather than crowd the centrepiece building itself, and yet to also ensure the viability of the restoration phase. Henley Homes have undertaken a painstaking restoration of the exterior shell. The vast roof and myriad windows have been replaced, bringing them up to code while maintaining the beautiful detailing. The façades have been repaired, repointed, cleaned, and sealed. Inside, the debris of neglect and vandalism has been cleared, revealing once again the pleasing symmetry of the Gothic spaces. It was a real labour of love for the team and consultants, and the results are extraordinary.