Developers finally submit plans to convert fire-ravaged hospital near Duston into homes

Fire and police investigators prepare to examine the St Crispin's hospital site back in August 2014. Finally plans have been submitted to convert the buildings into homes.
Fire and police investigators prepare to examine the St Crispin's hospital site back in August 2014. Finally plans have been submitted to convert the buildings into homes.
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Long-awaited plans to demolish a fire-gutted former psychiatric hospital near Duston and replace the site with flats and houses have been submitted.

Irish firm WN Developments took over the St Crispin’s Hospital land in 2009 and announced major plans to bring it back to life.

Hilary Harman and Seamus Neville, owner of development company WN Developments, pictured at the site back in 2012 when the firm first announced plans to build "luxury appartments" there.

Hilary Harman and Seamus Neville, owner of development company WN Developments, pictured at the site back in 2012 when the firm first announced plans to build "luxury appartments" there.

But in August 2014 an inferno ripped through the Victorian-built facility, causing extensive damage to a former ward block.

Finally today a planning application has been lodged with Northampton Borough Council to demolish the existing ward blocks, restore the grade two listed clock tower and build 137 flats and 98 houses on the site.

A planning statement submitted on behalf of WN Developments reads: “A viable solution for the site clearly needs to be found before the buildings and clock tower deteriorate further.

“Bringing the site back into use will provide real benefit to the residents of St Crispin’s in enhancing the conservation area and putting a stop to anti-social behaviour.”

The report goes on to say that it is “regrettable” the ward blocks need to be demolished, but it says they are “beyond economic repair”.

“The loss of the ward blocks are the only way the site is going to be developed and the clock tower restored,” the firm adds.

Two underground car parks are also proposed for the new homes.

The St Crispin’s psychiatric hospital site closed in 1995 and was then the subject of a number of large-scale plans, neither of which have come to fruition.

Developers Taylor Woodrow got planning approval for 217 flats on the site back in 2005 and began building work.

But following the financial crisis in 2008 builders pulled off the site having only converted the former children’s block and superintendents’ house. An underground car park was also included in those plans.

Development consultants RDC now state that the public and the parish councils are broadly in favour of bringing the St Crispin’s site back into use.

The derelict buildings have been a hotspot for vandalism and arson in recent years.

WN Developments carried out a consultation on its new plans at the end of 2015 and received 73 responses. It says 80 percent of those were “positive”.

The plans will go before Northampton Borough Council’s planning committee later in the year.