Multi-million pound plans to convert the eyesore former St Edmund’s Hospital into a specialised care facility for the elderly have been unveiled – only hours after a fire at the site.
The Grade II listed former workhouse in Wellingborough Road has stood empty and unused since closing as a hospital in 1999.
But today a planning application has been submitted to the borough council to build a new dementia facility and retirement village on the site.
The former workhouse building facing onto the Wellingborough Road would also be converted into a facility offering a range of elderly care.
Cyprus-based developers Kayalef had faced criticism for not progressing with plans to renovate the former hospital, which has fallen into disrepair over recent years.
Fire engines called out to the site earlier today after smoke was seen emerging from the first floor of the remaining building.
Spokesperson for Kayalef, Ashley Riley, said that a planning application had taken so long to come to fruition because of the listed nature of the site.
He said: “St Edmund’s is a complex and challenging project with complex issues regarding listings, feasibility and demands on converting 19th century buildings to meet the needs of the 21st century.
“That is why we are delighted that today we can submit a planning application to bring the site back to life.”
“St Edmund’s is an important site for Northampton and has been part of our town’s landscape for over 150 years.
“Our plans will ensure it is brought back to life, with a deep respect for its heritage while serving Northampton for many years to come.”
Mr Riley admitted that the former hospital had become an ‘eyesore’ in recent years.
But he said: “Nobody wants the current site to stay the way it is – but there is a recognition that nobody wants a failed planning application either.
“It does take time to submit a robust and quality planning application.
Leader of Northampton Borough Council, Councillor David Mackintosh, said the council would be working with the developer to ensure it improves security around the site.
“It is great to see detailed plans coming forward to transform the site,” he said.
“St Edmund’s has become a real eyesore, and breathing new life into the building can only be good for our town.”