Objections to new plans for old hospital site

Members of Clitheroe Civic Society protesting earlier this year about previous plans to demolish the former Clitheroe Hospital building. They are, from left, Duncan and Ruth Thompson, Steve Burke and Len Middleton.
Members of Clitheroe Civic Society protesting earlier this year about previous plans to demolish the former Clitheroe Hospital building. They are, from left, Duncan and Ruth Thompson, Steve Burke and Len Middleton.

A conservation group which fights to protect the borough’s social and architectural heritage is objecting to a fresh set of plans proposing to demolish Clitheroe’s former community hospital in order to build 60 new homes.

Members of Clitheroe Civic Society say the new plans for the site off Chatburn Road in Clitheroe submitted to Ribble Valley Borough Council in a joint application by McDermott Homes and NHS Property Services should be refused.

Steve Burke, acting chairman of CCS, said: “Two previous applications to demolish the Clitheroe Union Workhouse have been refused by RVBC, broadly on the grounds that this Non-Designated Heritage Assets (NDHA) is too important to lose by reason of its social, historic and architectural importance.”

He added that the status of the building has not changed since the previous application submitted to the council by NHS Property Services Ltd was withdrawn and that the significance of the building has actually increased after more than 800 people signed a petition against the previous proposals to demolish the former workhouse. For more on the CCS’s objections see the letters on page 20 of this week’s paper.

The new application seeks full planning permission for demolition of the existing buildings and complete redevelopment of the site to provide up to 60 dwellings with associated access, landscaping and public open space. There would be an affordable housing provision of 20% and a £101,000 education contribution to Lancashire County Council.

The proposed housing would be a mixture of 12 two bedroom houses, classed as “lifetime” homes, 33 three bedroom houses, four of which would be bungalows, and 15 four bedroom houses.

Access to the development would continue to be off Chatburn Road and the plans include an open green space at the front of the site that will include the retention of the former hospital lawns and majority of mature trees.

A design and access statement on behalf of the applicants, states: “This application follows the recently withdrawn outline application for residential development submitted by the NHS. Therefore, the stakeholders and local community have recently been consulted on a similar scheme for residential development. The NHS (as joint applicant on this proposal) have previously consulted the Civic Society, Victorian Society and Clitheroe Town Council. The applicants are aware of the objections raised with regards the demolition of non-heritage assets, however the retention of the existing building is unviable.”

Photographic recording of the interior, exterior and immediate surroundings of former workhouse and infirmary buildings has been recommended, and it has been suggested that the installation of some interpretation about the former Clitheroe Union Workhouse as part of the proposed landscaping should be included in the development. The developers hope this will mitigate to some extent the loss of some of the historical values.