By Tony Earnshaw Local Democracy Reporter
A FORMER hospital in Batley is set to be renovated and turned into apartments.
And a senior planner on Kirklees Council has said: “I cannot wait for this scheme to get up and running.”
The vacant Batley & District Cottage Hospital, on a three-acre site on Carlinghow Hill, would be partially demolished under new plans to create 20 apartments and 20 terraced and detached houses.
Built in 1883, the hospital is within the conservation area and considered to be a ‘non-designated heritage asset’.
And whilst it is not listed it is said to be of “high quality and historical importance”.
Closed for around 30 years, the Victorian former hospital was damaged by fire in October 2017.
Councillors who considered the plans at a meeting of the council’s Strategic Planning Committee were warm towards the proposals.
Coun Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) said the committee was “very favourably disposed” to the plan but were keen to see all details nailed down.
Coun Carole Pattison (Lab) said members recognised the historical relevance of the former hospital building and were “most concerned” that it was restored.
She asked how building work would be phased and sought reassurance to ensure any developer would not walk away after houses were completed on the site.
She said: “We would not want to see all the houses built – or even part of them – and then the developer walks away and the building is not restored.”
Her comments followed a brief private session, in which members discussed the financial viability of the scheme.
Committee chairman Coun Steve Hall (Lab, Heckmondwike) asked if original stone on the hospital site could be reclaimed and used in any new-build.
Addressing Batley-based applicant Fernbrook Associates he added: “Personally I can’t wait for this scheme to get up and running.
“The people of Batley will be watching but I am sure you will do a damn good job.”
The property was bought by the trustees of the Zakaria Muslim Girls’ High School with plans to convert it into a new base – plans which fell apart in mid-2018, amidst concern about the use of money which had been loaned from local people to the project. Developers Fernbrook are based at Batley Technology Centre and their directors are listed as Sadiq Ravat and Hasan Dadibhai.