Hospital bidders told: ‘Look after our history’

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Potential developers of Market Harborough’s Cottage Hospital site have been effectively warned by Harborough District Council to ‘look after our history’.

The council warning comes in a memo seen by the Harborough Mail this week.

The council tells potential developers they would prefer the original hospital building and attached War Memorial to be retained in any new plan.

The council preference comes in a set of documents supplied to all would-be developers by NHS estate agent Innes England.

The council suggests that the original hospital building, with the listed War Memorial Portico retained, could be converted into six two-bedroom flats.

Surrounding buildings would then be demolished, leaving space for nine two to three bedroom terraced properties, three of which would front Nelson Street.

The suggestion aims to nudge potential developers towards a scheme which the District Council would consider acceptable.

The Council’s preferred option would keep the listed First World War Memorial in its current position, attached to the original hospital building on Coventry Road.

Developers are still free to come up with their own plans for the prime town centre site, of course.

But the District council memo stresses: “Please note that moving the portico would affect its Listed status, and is not a preferred option.

“Any application to do so would need to be accompanied by a very robust Heritage statement.”

The council’s intervention is a bid to disuade developers from simply knocking down all buildings on the site and asking for the listed Portico to be moved to an alternative venue, creating the ‘blank canvas’ many developers prefer.

The council says: “Removal of the portico would result in the loss of Listed status, severance of historical context and would amount to ‘substantial harm’. It would be likely to be resisted.”