Historic England rejects campaigners’ bid to get listed building status for former Wakefield maternity hospital

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Heritage campaigners have failed in their attempt to get Wakefield’s former maternity hospital listed to stop it from being demolished.

Historic England have turned down the application to get listed building status for the property on Blenheim Road, St John’s.

Wakefield Civic Society made the request after a developer submitted plans to knock down the property to build new homes on the site.The property was the city’s maternity hospital from 1919 until 1935.

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Milner Homes originally applied to Wakefield Council to build seven town houses on the site.

The property on Blenheim Road, St John's, was Wakefield's maternity hospital from 1919 until 1935.The property on Blenheim Road, St John's, was Wakefield's maternity hospital from 1919 until 1935.
The property on Blenheim Road, St John's, was Wakefield's maternity hospital from 1919 until 1935.

The application has now been amended to build six properties.

An Historic England reports states: “Whilst incorporating some decorative elements, overall its design does not demonstrate exceptional quality or innovation for the period, and lacks the strong level of architectural distinction of other listed houses of a contemporary date.

“Multiple changes of use would suggest a high level of internal alteration, and evidence has not been provided of surviving interior features of note.”

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The report continues: “The building is not known to have connections with people or events of national significance.

“There are no nearby listed buildings with which to share a historical, functional or visual relationship.”

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Kevin Trickett, President of Wakefield Civic Society, said: “Our only hope now would be to ask for a review based on new information, particularly regarding the interior.

“We are looking to see what might be done.”

Mr Trickett said he would also be contacting Wakefield Council to ask the Conservation Officer to consider giving the building a ‘local listing’.

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Council’s can make a local listing if they consider a property or structure to be of local importance due to its architectural, historical or environmental significance.

Mr Trickett added: ”It is not quite the same level of protection but it might just prevent demolition.”

The property was built in 1889 and designed by J W Connon, a well-known architect of his time who also worked on the Metropole Hotel in Leeds.

Research also reveals it was the home to Rev Andrew Chalmers, vicar at Wakefield Unitarian Chapel, until his death in 1912.

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It was Wakefield Corporation Maternity Hospital from 1919 until Manygates Maternity Hospital was opened in 1935.

The building is currently divided into seven flats.

So far, 64 objections have been made to Wakefield Council over the plan, with many residents opposed to the loss of a historic building.

Others say the proposals are not in keeping with the St John’s area and will lead to a loss of privacy for neighbouring residents.

The plan has received one letter of support.

Milner Homes has been contacted for comment.