Heritage groups race to list Wakefield’s historic maternity hospital building to prevent it from being demolished

A developer has submitted plans to demolish the property on Blenheim Road in the St John’s area of ​​Wakefield.

Milner Homes plans to build seven mansions on the site that was once the Wakefield Corporation Maternity Hospital

The plan has so far raised 27 objections from local residents who are concerned about the loss of a historic building.

The building on Blenheim Road was the city’s maternity hospital from 1919 to 1935.

Others say the proposals do not fit into the St John’s neighborhood and lead to a loss of privacy for local residents.

Heritage groups hope to convince Historic England to give the building listed status.

Wakefield Civic Society attendee Kevin Trickett said he had contacted the Wakefield Historical Appreciation Society about the matter.

He said: “The consensus seems to be that we should object to its demolition.

Rear view of the former maternity hospital on Blenheim Road.

“The problem is that it was never listed and has no protection.

“We must defend its historical and architectural value and ask for information from anyone who knows more about this house.”

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Built in 1889, the property was designed by JW Connon, a noted architect of his time who also worked on the Metropole Hotel in Leeds.

Evidence also shows that until his death in 1912 it was the home of the Reverend Andrew Chalmers, Vicar of the Wakefield Unitaring Chapel.

The property was the town’s maternity hospital from 1919 until the Manygates Maternity Hospital opened in 1935.

Mr Trickett added: “There are strong community ties to the building, with people who were born there or have relatives who were born there.”

It appears that the house was divided into flats in the 1930s, not long after it ceased to be the maternity hospital, and has been used as a flat ever since.

The property is currently divided into seven apartments.

One objection to Wakefield Council reads: “The existing 1890s building is of great historic importance to Wakefield.

“The demolition of this building would prove once again that the lessons of the past with the demolition of old landmark buildings in Wakefield have not been learned.

“The proposal to build seven townhouses is a lazy option cynically planned to generate maximum income.

“The existing building must be restored in a sympathetic manner.”

Another objector states: “So many of Wakefield’s historic buildings have been sacrificed in favor of modern buildings of lesser quality and aesthetically poor.

“We need to keep the character and charm of areas like St John’s and not cram cheap housing everywhere where there is space.

“The three-storey houses overlook the existing properties, resulting in loss of light and lack of privacy.”

One resident wrote in support of the development: “I feel the building is of little historical interest and has been badly neglected for many years.

“In fact, rather than adversely affect the area, the new properties should enhance it.

“In principle, the number of new residents would be equal to the number who live there now.

“The alternative would be to let the building degenerate for many years to come and become even more of an eyesore.”

Milner Homes has been approached for comment.

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