Archive | April 2021

St Mary’s hospital, Leeds, demolished by stealth

Another application to demolish more of the St Mary’s hospital campus in Armley, Leeds:

The iconic principle elevation of the hospital.

A couple of months ago, I posted about another wing of this hospital being demolished. At that time, there wasn’t much remonstration due to the retention of the main hospital building featured here. Now that wing is for the chop, it is clear that the entire hospital is to be lost, incrementally, to avoid drawing the ire of conservationists.

The mental health hospital occupies the former Bramley Union Workhouse of 1862, shown in the map above. The historical importance of this building goes without saying. A stunning building with a beautiful tower capturing the humble elegance so many Victorian public institution buildings imbibe.

No statutory protection results in the demolition prior approval going through the planning system unprotested. In the officers report, the council acknowledge the buildings to be ‘considered to form non-designated heritage assets’. This should be enough to remove PD rights via article 4, and avoid the demolition.

I hazard that this could never happen due to the asset belonging to the local NHS trust, and being part of a wider asset strategy, which will involve selling some land, and down buying sites elsewhere, undoubtedly which has been programmed in for years. Interference from the planning department on such matters is just not the done thing.

And its not as if there is an exponentially increasing demand for mental health services or anything like that.


The Old Mill, Morley

Small Victorian warehouse to be cleared for housing in Morley:

Modest attractive warehouse to be lost on Station Road in Morley. Its hard to appreciate from the image but the street here is quite a dramatic scene due to the levels being so steep. The mix of stone and brick of the townscape complement the leafy green bank. Its a shame a developer couldn’t see value in converting the building to flats, as it is robust and would save a lot of carbon emissions.

Buildings like this usually don’t get a second look, but wouldn’t it be great if at pre-app, the council would encourage the reuse of the building, and make it clear huge amounts of weight in the planning balance would be given to such a scheme.

Sutton Arms pub, Stockton

Pub, demolished without planning permission in Elton:

This pub only closed its doors last September, amidst the moratorium on the hospitality industry. Yet the application has argued that the building was marketed unsuccessfully and that a pub in this location is unviable. Disgracefully, the owners knocked the pub down, in hope that retrospective planning permission will be granted.

The reaction from the residents of Elton is testament to how much this institution meant. Comments have poured in, urging the council to lay down the law and demand the pub is rebuilt brick by brick. This happened in London, so why not Stockton?

A village is left bereft of a place to gather. The building is by no means ancient, having been built in 1900. Yet the half-timbered first floor, bold chimneys, and adjacent phone box create a mise en scene that worthy of every effort to retain. These places can not be found anywhere else in the world.