Plans for Helmsley's Old Vicarage are to go on display at public drop-in sessions.

Residents of Helmsley and the wider community who have not yet viewed plans to convert the Old Vicarage in Helmsley into residential dwellings are invited to attend two public drop-in sessions held on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 July.

The sessions will take place from 4pm – 6pm in the Committee Room of the National Park Authority Headquarters on Bondgate, with staff available to discuss the proposals and answer questions during that time.

The plans, which can already be viewed either in person at the Old Vicarage or on the planning pages of the National Park Authority’s website, seek permission for the Grade II listed building to be converted into five open-market properties. To achieve this, the scheme proposes the demolition of the existing extension and the construction of a new, two-storey residence. In total, the plans propose the creation of two, two-bedroom houses and three further apartments.

The Old Vicarage has served as the National Park Authority’s headquarters since the 1970s, however members are seeking planning consent from North Yorkshire Council to build new offices and a depot on designated employment land on Riccall Drive.

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Chris France, Director of Planning at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said the introduction of flexible working arrangements since the Covid-19 pandemic, coupled with the costs and practicality of retrofitting a listed property to meet the needs of a modern working environment, mean the building is considered unsuitable for its current role.

"It also sits within a cluster of private homes, with staff and visitors parking in surrounding streets, so in planning policy terms sits uneasily in a wholly residential area.

"It is considered that by returning the building to its original intended residential use, the integrity of the listed building and its internal character will be better conserved for future generations."

Chris added: “We understand the importance and prominence of this historic building in the town and that the proposals must be in keeping with surrounding buildings and the wider setting.

“The existing 1970s rear extension does not contribute positively to the building and its demolition would allow for the construction of a property that gives a nod to the historic coach house once present in this location. This would be within the footprint of the current extension and therefore the layout of the whole site will remain largely as it is now.”

The statutory period for members of the public to comment on the applications closes on Wednesday 17 July, though comments received after this date will still be considered. A decision is likely to made at a meeting of the Local Planning Authority in September.

The additional drop-in sessions on 10 and 11 July provide an opportunity for interested parties to see the plans displayed on large boards, with Planning Officers available to answer questions.

Comment forms and full details of the applications can be found on the Planning Explorer pages of the National Park Authority’s website, by searching for application numbers NYM/2024/0413 and NYM/2024/0416