Saturday, 24 October 2009

Royal Alexandra Hospital Site

Following the rejection of developer Wimpey's plans at a public inquiry the City Council has now embarked on a planning brief for this site: the aim being to assist the developer in preparing future planning applications and to avoid another costly failure.

As a first step the Council has put five possible options out for public consultation. These options range from demolition of all existing buildings, option 1, to the retention & refurbishment of all the old buildings, option 5. The number of residential units provided by these 2 options drop from 138 to 70 respectively.

Apart from option 1 all the other options call for retention of the quirky much-loved main building fronting on to Dyke Road but the whole site is of historical/architectural interest as, since its inception in 1880 it has been continually extended and adapted in the style of its time.

I am particularly fond of the 'Arts & Crafts' style, 1896 nurses home pictured above, with its castellated tower, stone mullions and timbered gable ends. Detached examples of this style are becoming increasingly rare in the City. From the conservation viewpoint Option 5 which retains all the old buildings is to be preferred, with Option 4, which retains the main cluster, including the nurses home, a close second.

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