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Plans given the go-ahead to demolish former Clitheroe hospital

The front of the former Clitheroe Union Workhouse and Community Hospital.
The front of the former Clitheroe Union Workhouse and Community Hospital.
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Clitheroe's former union workhouse and community hospital will be demolished for housing to the dismay of local campaigners.

Plans to build 60 homes on the Chatburn Road site were given the go ahead yesterday evening despite hundreds signing a petition against its demolition.

The application from McDermott Developments Ltd and NHS Property Services for full planning permission to demolish all buildings and build 60 houses was approved by members of Ribble Valley Borough Council's planning and development committee.

Prior to the meeting Clitheroe Civic Society, Clitheroe Town Council and Lancashire Archaeological Advisory Service, who were all consulted about the plans, objected to the application because of the building's social, historic and architectural importance.

In a report to planners, a spokesman for Lancashire Archaeological Service said the demolition runs contrary to council policies and stressed that certain structures within the building, such as the porter's lodge and mortuary, should not be casually dismissed as of "minimal interest" within the Heritage Statement.

More than 2,100 people had also signed a petition to stop the demolition.

However, members of the committee voted closely in favour of the application for the demolition of the former Clitheroe Union Workhouse and Community Hospital which had been recommended for "deferral and delegated for approval" by the local planning officer.

Speaking to the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times today, Lib Dem Coun. Sue Knox said: "NHS Estates have shown a lack of vision, they could've built housing that would meet the needs of the population and would help avoid hospital admission and speed up hospital discharge.

"Instead they went for as much money as they could get and to add insult to injury they are knocking down a part of Clitheroe's heritage.

"Should we blame the current government's chronic under funding of the NHS?"

For more on this story see next Thursday's Clitheroe Advertiser and Times.