Partial demolition of Wakefield's historic Clayton Hospital to make way for school sports facilities to be considered next week

Grand plans to redevelop the site of a historic Wakefield hospital could move a step closer next week.

Thursday, 8th April 2021, 4:55 pm

Clayton Hospital, on Northgate, dates back to 1854 but has been closed and derelict for nearly 10 years.

In the decade since it's been subject to vandalism, decay and even unauthorised ghost hunts.

The Wakefield Grammar School Foundation, whose schools neighbour the old buildings, got outline planning permission in 2017 to repurpose the site for pupil sports facilities.

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The hospital has been derelict since 2012.

Next week, the finer details of the scheme will be discussed by councillors, with the Foundation seeking consent to carry out the first part of the proposals.

If approved, the plan will see most of the old hospital structures demolished, with the exception of part of its pavilion building, which will be retained and restored.

A multi-use games arena for school sport and a car park will be built on the space.

If the project is given another green light next Thursday, it could finally signal a new chapter in the history of the cherished hospital site.

The site is likely to be repurposed by the neighbouring grammar schools.

But since shutting down in 2012, the buildings have become a target for vandals.

A council report on the planning application said the Grammar School Foundation had been forced to remove benches bearing plaques with the names of historical figures associated with the hospital, because of graffiti and damage. They are now in safekeeping.

In 2014, 200 people turned up to a ghost hunt at the site, after claims it was haunted circulated on social media.

The Wakefield Civic Society has backed the redevelopment of the site.

Having previously expressed concerns about the demolition of much of the venue years ago, president Kevin Trickett said the Society viewed the plans as an "acceptable compromise" given the retention of the pavilion building.

It had been concluded that restoring all of the old structures would be too complex and expensive a job.

Mr Trickett said: "The Covid pandemic and the delays that's caused in the planning process has left that site empty for much longer than it should have been.

"Fingers crossed something will happen soon. When you're driving down Northgate from the Leeds-Bradford end and you go past the site you can see that it's been derelict for far too long.

"There's a strong argument to say that with heritage buildings, there should be a plan put in place for their future, before their owners vacate it and leave it empty."

Local Democracy Reporting Service