The Victorian Society backs campaign to stop demolition of Wakefield's former maternity hospital

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The Victorian Society has added its voice to a campaign to stop Wakefield’s former maternity hospital from being demolished

The group has lodged an objection to plans to knock down the property to make way for new homes to be built.

Milner Homes want to build seven town houses on the Blenheim Road site, which used to be the Wakefield Corporation Maternity hospital.

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The number of objections submitted to Wakefield Council over the proposal has risen from 27 to 56 in the past week.

Heritage groups, including Wakefield Civic Society, are currently trying to persuade Historic England to give the building listed status to protect it from demolition.Heritage groups, including Wakefield Civic Society, are currently trying to persuade Historic England to give the building listed status to protect it from demolition.
Heritage groups, including Wakefield Civic Society, are currently trying to persuade Historic England to give the building listed status to protect it from demolition.

Heritage groups, including Wakefield Civic Society, are currently trying to persuade Historic England to give the building listed status to protect it from demolition.An objection from the Victorian Society, which campaigns to project Victorian and Edwardian buildings from being destroyed, states: “Given its former use as a maternity home, the building demonstrates significant local historic value, as set out in the Historic England Conservation Principles.

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“It is disappointing to see how little information has been provided with the planning application, with no evidence of research or survey of the historic building, and no expectation of recording prior to any agreed loss of historic fabric.

“Any agreed demolition will have a negative impact on the immediate area, including the adjacent St John’s Conservation Area, and wider heritage of Wakefield.

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“This application to demolish is yet another example of a short-sighted and inappropriate proposal for the loss of an interesting and beautifully crafted Victorian building which can be re-purposed, and which adds significance and value to its community and place.”

Another objection from a local resident says: “The majority of the buildings in St Johns are architecturally unique and of historical value including this original maternity hospital.

“This property should be a blue plaque house and listed, not demolished to make way for modern, out of place style housing.”

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.

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

The property was the city’s maternity hospital from 1919 until Manygates Maternity Hospital was opened in 1935.

It appears that the house was divided into flats in the 1930s, not long after it ceased to be the maternity home, and it has been used as flats ever since.

The property is currently divided into seven flats.

Milner Homes has been contacted for comment.