Demolition work on Harborough’s Cottage Hospital set to start in the New Year

The former cottage hospital site in Coventry Road.
The former cottage hospital site in Coventry Road.

Work will probably begin on demolishing Market Harborough’s derelict Cottage Hospital in the New Year, site owner Miheer Mehta told the Mail this week.

The Grade II listed First World War memorial portico will be preserved on site, and re-attached to a brand new building - a 70-bed care home.

“We’re fully aware of the historical significance of the portico” said Mr Mehta, of care home group Sterling Rose Care Ltd.

“We think this redevelopment will be good news for Market Harborough as a whole.”

The news follows a decision by Harborough District Council planners to approve the demolition of the existing hospital building, originally dating from 1909, on Coventry Road.

The hospital is the birthplace of many Harborians.

The exception will be the listed portico, which displays plaques carved with the names of all 1,655 Harborough men who fought in the First World War.

The new care home will have “pretty much the same” footprint as the hospital, and be a similar height, councillors were told.

Rosalind Willatts, a member of the Protect Harborough War Memorial group, told the meeting there seemed to be “inadequate indications as to how the listed portico will be protected” while the hospital is demolished around it.

Cllr Phil Knowles said he wanted to make sure building work did not impact too much on neighbours, and that long-term access to a well-maintained portico could be guaranteed.

But a list of extra planning conditions relating in particular to the portico were introduced at the meeting.

Planners then said they were generally happy with the details of the scheme and unanimously approved it.

Cllr Amanda Nunn, proposing approval of the scheme, said: “We are in need of residential homes, and everyone seems accepting of these plans.”

Cllr Richard Tomlin, seconding, said: “It’s derelict, and will provide a service that’s needed locally, plus employment.”