Two disused hospital buildings in Aldershot will be brought ‘back to life’ after part of the Wellesley development was given the go-ahead by councillors.
Rushmoor Borough Council unanimously approved the scheme to convert the Cambridge Military and Louise Margaret Hospital into 115 family homes during a development management committee last Wednesday.
In Grainger’s design plans, architects said they would ‘turn back the clocks’ to revive the grade two-listed military hospital, after it was forced to close due to costs and the discovery of asbestos in the walls more than 20 years ago.
Prior to the meeting, several councillors visited the Hospital Hill site – a stone’s throw away from the 3,850-home Wellesley development.
Councillor Jennifer Evans, who represents Wellington ward, said: “I am quite impressed.
“There is a sympathetic way in which work on the Cambridge Military Hospital would be carried out to make this the centrepiece an iconic part of the development.
“This, in a sense, would lift the whole thing to make it something really prestigious.
“I personally don’t have any problems with it.
“I think the whole idea of the ways in which family-sized houses have been incorporated into this, the allocated parking and the landscaping is really attractive.”
The regeneration will see the demolition of Cambridge Military Hospital’s first floor corridor extension, which spans the core of the building, as well as the removal of a post Second World War old emergency unit.
Two new extensions will be built so the hospital can be converted into 28 houses, 43 flats and three maisonettes.
Proposals include 943 square metres of community floor space in the central core of the development, which could feature a residents’ gym, cafe and gallery.
Despite strong support from councillors during the meeting, concerns were raised over affordability of the properties and a lack of parking spaces.
Cllr Evans added: “My concern is: Who the hell is going to afford this?
“With the development being so upmarket, they are going to command quite a high rent so I’m wondering how they are going to be marketed.
“It would be awful if they were done up and then stood empty.”
Development manager John Thorne told the committee that Grainger was responsible for rent prices and an environmental officer was satisfied with the number of parking spaces.
Councillors also approved ‘significant’ demolition of the Louise Margaret Hospital, at the eastern end of the site.
Proposals involve conversion of the main two and three-storey elements of the building as well as the nursing units.
Single-storey elements of the hospital will be demolished as part of the plan to create 41 homes, parking, community space and part of a heritage trail.
Following the meeting, Grainger development director John Beresford said: “We are delighted that our Cambridge Military Hospital and Louise Margaret Hospital planning applications have been well received and approved by Rushmoor’s development management committee.
“The Cambridge Military Hospital is an important landmark in Aldershot, both from a place making and community perspective.”