Plans to demolish former Rauceby Hospital buildings to make way for 43 more homes
Applicants Project 2000 (Greylees) Ltd are putting forward the project for the site currently occupied by the vacant Orchard House buildings on Murrayfield Avenue, that up until recently were used by the NHS as offices.
Permission had previously been granted to demolish the buildings in 2012 but has not been followed through.
The applicant has stated that although the buildings fall outside the designated conservation area for the central core of the former mental hospital, an orchard to the south of the proposed new housing could largely be preserved and properly managed as it is protected by a Section 106 legal agreement attached to the original grant of outline planning permission for the redevelopment of the former Rauceby Hospital site.
Rauceby Hospital was designed in 1898 to add capacity to the Lincolnshire county asylum (St John’s) at Bracebridge Heath. Several peripheral buildings were added to the wider Rauceby site during the 20th century, including Orchard House in the 1930s.
The RAF occupied the hospital during the Second World War, where pioneering burns treatments and plastic surgery were carried out. The asylum was renamed ‘Kesteven Mental Hospital’ in 1922, and ‘Rauceby Hospital’ in 1948.
The entire Greylees settlement is located within a Grade II Listed Park and Garden of Special Historic Interest, which was registered in 2000, one year after the outline grant of planning permission for redeveloping the hospital.
The applicants state: “Orchard House is an unattractive mid 20th century building of little architectural merit. It is not located in the Conservation Area. The building is associated with the neighbouring former Rauceby Hospital buildings within the Central Core but the link
was short lived and of limited historic significance. There is insufficient architectural and historical interest to justify the retention of Orchard House. Its demolition will have little impact on the character of the designated Historic Park and Garden.”
So far, a total of 701 homes have been proposed for the overall hospital site.
On the orchard, the application states: “The majority of the site’s tree population comprises fruit bearing orchard trees planted in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, with species typical for that period. Despite their poor condition and limited heritage value, a new soft landscaping scheme for the orchards will provide ideal amenity public open space for existing and future residents of Greylees. There are continuing discussions between the applicant and the owner of adjoining orchards to the south (David Wilson Homes and Barratts) with the intention of co-ordinating and merging the long term management of all the orchards in the central part of Greylees and DeVessey New Village.”
On the old hospital buildings the applicant warns: “Orchard House is falling into disrepair and is prone to vandalism. Prior Notification is in place to demolish Orchard House and is not time-limited. Therefore the building can be demolished and the area left as a wasteland without
an approved, suitable redevelopment strategy in place.
“The site sits at the heart of Greylees, surrounded by houses on three sides. It is in the best interests of the community for this eyesore and liability to be removed and replaced with houses, whose occupants will contribute to community life and expenditure in local shops. In other words, the proposed development will protect the setting and character of the wider Sleaford area by the protection and enhancement of the orchards and the demolition of an unsightly 20th century building.”
They add: “The proposed development will secure the long term future of the orchards, removing dead and dying trees and instigating new planting. Better public access to the orchards will be achieved.”
Out of 149 trees, 51 are required to be removed to make way for the development, many said to be in poor condition.
The company say in their report to NKDC: “The application site is located in the heart of Greylees, which is a sustainable location for residential development, and close to the proposed central core where there will be local shops and services. The parking ratio is minimum two spaces for every house, plus garages, which serves to minimise the prospect of cars parking on pavements or elsewhere on Greylees. The mix of house types is weighted towards smaller houses, for which there is an identified need in the district.”
They propose 63 per cent of the houses to be two or three bedroom homes and no flats, boosting housing supply using previously-developed land, which they say is encouraged at national and local level, reducing the need to release greenfield land. They propose that 20 per cent of the houses would be designated ‘affordable housing’, equating to nine properties, although they reserved the right to designate these as ‘starter homes’.