£15m plan for sports pitches and new theatre at Clayton Hospital

Artist impression of option 1 for Clayton Hospital (demolish all current buildings).

Artist impression of option 1 for Clayton Hospital (demolish all current buildings).

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Clayton Hospital could be transformed into a £15m centre for sports and performing arts.

Wakefield Grammar School Foundation, which last year agreed a deal to buy the derelict site from Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, hopes to turn it into a leisure space for both its pupils and the community.

Artist impression of option 2 for Clayton Hospital (keep part of the current building).

Artist impression of option 2 for Clayton Hospital (keep part of the current building).

It plans to demolish the run-down hospital buildings and replace them with sports facilities and pitches, a swimming pool and a performing arts centre with a theatre.

Laurence Perry, bursar and clerk to the governors at WGSF, said: “This is a one off opportunity to acquire land between our two senior schools to enable us to provide exciting new facilities.

“The development will create attractive, state of the art facilities, that both our pupils and the community can take advantage of and enjoy.”

The new buildings would be used by students from WGSF’s junior and senior boys and girls schools throughout their education.

Clayton Hospital has been bought by Wakefield Grammar School Foundation and will be turned into a sports facility.
Laurence Perry (Bursar), John McLeod (Spokesman to the Governors), Iain Brodie (General Manager facilities Mid Yorks)

Clayton Hospital has been bought by Wakefield Grammar School Foundation and will be turned into a sports facility. Laurence Perry (Bursar), John McLeod (Spokesman to the Governors), Iain Brodie (General Manager facilities Mid Yorks)

But Mr Perry said he also hoped sports teams, community groups and theatre organisations would use the facilities during evenings, weekends and school holidays.

Mr Perry said: “We have very much been part of Wakefield since 1591 and we are very much committed to the community of Wakefield.

“We want something that the whole city can be proud of not something that is wholly for us.”

The Foundation has launched a public consultation about plans for the abandoned site, which has been a target for vandals since the hospital closed in 2012.

It has submitted two proposals for local residents to consider.

The first, the Foundation’s preferred option, involves demolishing all the buildings on the site and beginning the redevelopment from scratch.

The second involves demolishing most of the buildings, except the central block and frontage. The rest of the site would be built in the same way and the central block would likely be used as office space.

Mr Perry said: “The difficulty with keeping the existing building is that the whole hospital site has fallen into complete disrepair.

“Tiles are missing off the roof, water is leaking in and it has been targeted by vandals. We aren’t saying it cannot be salvaged but it is in a very bad state.

“To get it safe, weather tight and then turn it into something meaningful like offices would cost a lot of money, and would take money away from what else we want to do on the site.”

People living close to the hospital have been invited to the schools to see the plans and share their views with the Foundation.

Camilla Field, director of marketing at WGSF, said: “Everyone wants rid of what is just an ugly site at the moment. Hopefully, overall it will be seen as a really positive scheme for the area.”

Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for economic growth and skills at Wakefield Council, added: “I am pleased that fresh ideas for the Clayton Hospital site are being put forward. It is early days but I would hope that this derelict site will be transformed.”

The consultation feedback will be taken on board when WGSF submits a planning application to Wakefield Council at the end of the month.

If the plans are approved, the Foundation aims to complete the sale and begin demolition and clearing the site by Autumn.

The whole project is expected to be finished within ten years.

Anyone else interested in viewing the proposals and giving their thoughts can log on to www.claytonredevelopment.co.uk

Clayton Hospital was founded in 1854 after former mayor Thomas Clayton donated buildings to the Wakefield General Dispensary, an organisation set up to provide healthcare for the poor.

After 1948 it became part of the newly-formed National Health Service. NHS services were provided there until 2012, when Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust closed the hospital and it was boarded up.

For three years, the site was derelict and fell into disrepair. It was also plagued by vandalism.

Last Autumn, Wakefield Council threatened to take legal enforcement action if the health trust did not “sort out” the hospital. It was described by council bosses as a “blight on the city centre”. And in November, a deal was agreed for Wakefield Grammar School Foundation (WGSF) to buy the site from the NHS Trust and the hospital was made secure.

The sale will only go ahead if WGSF secure planning permission to regenerate the site.