Work to turn a former hospital in Bracebridge Heath into 183 luxury homes and apartments is well underway.
The new St John’s village has functioned under many names since it was opened in 1852; St John’s Asylum, Lindsey & Holland Counties & Lincoln & District Lunatic Asylum and Bracebridge Mental Hospital, before being named St John’s Hospital in the 1960s.
The site had remained vacant for around 24 years and had fallen into extreme disrepair.
The regeneration element will offer 64 houses and 42 apartments, including some that will sit inside the shell of the former large theatre to the centre of the site.
Developers Mabec are the third to attempt redevelopment, and they are working with Lincolnshire estate agent Pygott and Crone to sympathetically restore all actions of the building, with addition of seven four-bedroom new builds.
The asylum cost around £30,000 when it was first constructed in 1852. The £40 million redevelopment is expected to reach full completion in the next two or three years.
The first phase of the works, Block B, is due to be completed by December 2014 and Pygott and Crone say each apartment has received keen interest.
The apartments range between £125,000 to £225,000, and town houses are priced between £265,000 and £350,000.
Although works have been paused due to unforeseen bouts of dry rot and features lost to decay, developers say the works are on schedule and on budget.
Tim Downing, senior partner at Pygott and Crone said: “The development is hugely exciting not just for us but also for local residents, who will greatly benefit from having such a unique attraction in the area.
“There is nothing like this in the country and it’s been an absolute pleasure to have been a part of it. Mabec have been doing an amazingly sympathetic job.
“I’ve been involved in the project for around 12 years and a lot of hard work has gone into the property.
“This is the best development I have ever been involved in.”
Colin Sheilds, who worked as a nursing student at the hospital between 1974 and 1981, joined The Lincolnite on the tour.
After viewing the decayed building after over 30 years away, Colin said: “It brings back a lot of memories.
“Working at the hospital was so interesting. If you split it down the middle you would see that one half was male and one half was female.
“One of the apartments we have seen today was actually the warden’s chambers so that brought back a lot of memories.
“I think thats the most encouraging thing that the man who took us around said it was being done delicately it’s nice to see it being done that way.
“The structure is more or less identical. I didn’t recognise it to start with because they’ve water blasted the walls and brightened it up so it looks better than it ever did.
“The ballroom was the most emotive thing really because it was such a central part of the hospital.”