Labour calls for immediate action over derelict St Edmund’s Hospital in Northampton

Dominic Tucker's shots inside St Edmund's Hospital appear to show the extent of drug use and rough sleeping in the abandoned Wellingborough Road buildings.

Dominic Tucker's shots inside St Edmund's Hospital appear to show the extent of drug use and rough sleeping in the abandoned Wellingborough Road buildings.

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A compulsory purchase order must be made on the derelict St Edmund’s Hospital in Northampton, the Labour group has claimed.

The call comes after a number of fires at the building in Wellinborough Road.

A year ago there looked to be hope as the Cypriot based owners Kayalef Holdings lodged plans to create a retirement village of 130 care apartments and a 62-bed specialist care home on the site. In June 2015 they were approved - providing the developers submitted a document justifying its plans to demolish the Grade II listed former school house and nurses’ home. Despite hopes this would be a mere formality, the document has never surfaced.

Leader of the Labour Group, Councillor Danielle Stone, said: “We are exhausted with the situation with St. Edmunds Hospital. It has been derelict now for the best part of 18 years. It is a magnet for anti-social behaviour, drug taking and now fires.

“In recent times we have called for a compulsory purchase order of the site but each time we have been knocked back saying a redevelopment is round the corner. We were promised a retirement village but this planning application has been postponed repeatedly.

“The recent revelations that show people are living on this site are truly horrifying. We need to have zero tolerance of the general public being in there. We need to get these vulnerable people out and look after them. Once this is done we must then completely secure it so no unauthorised people can access it,” she said.

“We must immediately begin the process of a compulsory purchase order not just because it is an eyesore but also on grounds of public safety. We are sick and tired of broken promises about the redevelopment of this site.”

Speaking in February, Northampton Borough Council’s cabinet member for regeneration, Councillor Tim Hadland said: “We continue to work with the developer and are pressing them regarding outstanding planning issues.

“Compulsory purchase is not an ideal option, particularly with a site like this, as it can be a very lengthy and expensive process for the council. The implementation of the site owner’s redevelopment plans is the best way to resolve the future of this important site for everybody.

“There are other potential enforcement actions that we will use, if necessary, before embarking along the CPO route.”