Old city hospital is on top 10 ‘in danger’ list

Clayton Hospital
Clayton Hospital
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A desperate call to arms has been made to save the historic Clayton Hospital in Wakefield by a national conservation group.

Complete demolition of the building, which is over 160 years old, is planned as part of a scheme by the Wakefield Grammar School Foundation for a new sports hall that was submitted earlier this year.

Griff Rhys Jones.

Griff Rhys Jones.

But this week, the landmark has been highlighted in a report by The Victorian Society which has has released its 2016 top 10 endangered building list in England and Wales .

Residents are now being encouraged to make their views known and appeal against the plans.

A spokesperson for The Victorian Society said: “We are urging residents to raise their concern and comment on the plans, if they go online it can take just five minutes to make a difference.

“Once these buildings are lost they are lost forever.

“The hospital is of the area, what replaces it will not have the same sense.”

Vice president of the society and TV comedian Griff Rhys Jones added: “ I hope people living near these buildings will seize this opportunity and campaign to save them.

“Ultimately, it is the support of local people which will ensure that they are not lost forever.”

The Victorian Society added that the site was run down, lead has been stolen from the building and has water damage but the premises’ shell could be re-used.

Wakefield Civic Society has submitted its views to the council, hoping elements of the building can be retained, but added they were pragmatic due to the condition of the site.

President Kenneth Trickett said:”We recognise the problems of the building, it missed out on the protection of national listing.

“People do admire the front of the building but they do not see the interior, parts of which have been heavily vandalised.

The hospital was founded in 1854 after former Wakefield mayor Thomas Clayton donated buildings to the Wakefield General Dispensary.

It was eventually closed in 2012 by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust.

Wakefield Grammar School Foundation is in talks to buy and develop the site.

It explained the building would be too expensive to retain.

Laurence Perry, Foundation bursar and clerk, said:“The Foundation submitted a planning application following a lengthy consultation process.

“The application is to clear the site and build modern facilities that will benefit both the Foundation and the wider community in Wakefield.

“To retain and refurbish the central pavilion and tower is not, in our opinion, economically viable and the building would not be suitable for educational use.”

When the plans were submitted, several objectors raised concerns about losing the historical site.

Yigal Landey said: “This is one of the most beautiful buildings in the city and yet its demolition is being considered. I do not agree the building is beyond repair.”