Campaigners say council is ignoring Mansfield’s ‘eyesore former General Hospital

Mansfield's Old General Hospital.'August 2011
Mansfield's Old General Hospital.'August 2011

THIS is the scene of disuse and neglect at Mansfield’s former General Hospital this week - as campaigners claimed they were being ignored in favour of other regeneration projects.

The old hospital has now been derelict more than 17 years and has become one of the town’s most notorious eyesores.

Residents and community leaders near the West Hill Drive site have fought a long and bitter battle with Nottingham businessman MH Adam to get the building demolished and replaced.

And this week they repeated their calls for Mansfield District Council to take action by making a compulsory purchase order on the site.

Members of the West Hill Residents’ Association said news the council was spending cash on a plan for another Mansfield eyesore - the former brewery site - was like ‘rubbing salt in our wounds’.

Roy Bainton, chairman of the association, said: “Unless it is taken away from the person who owns it, it will remain like this.

“Whereas we’re in solidarity with anyone living in the vicinity of the brewery site, we would argue that its negative social impact fades into insignificance compared to the hospital site.”

Progress seemed to be taking place in the long-running saga two years ago when the council issued a final ultimatum to Mr Adam ordering him to clean up the site.

The Section 215 Notice demanded that the businessman removed graffiti and weeds, repaired fencing and boundary walls and boarded up broken windows.

And when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court, Mr Adam accepted a substantial amount of work was required to tidy it up.

This week our photos once again show broken windows, damaged fencing and knee-high weeds growing on the site - although some residents say the appearance has improved.

Others said they would like to see progress at the site but admit they have become used to it being empty.

Mum Leigh-Ann Higgins, who has lived opposite the gloomy old buildings for 10 years, said the clean up had made a ‘massive difference’ and she had given up any hopes of major development in the near future.

“I can see it sitting there another 10 years to be honest,” she said. “I can’t see the council coming up with any need to find a compulsory purchase order.

“Mansfield doesn’t need any more parking or housing so there is no need to do it.

“When we first came up the street I thought ‘oh no what a mess’. But it is a double-edged sword as if it had been somewhere else our house would have cost a lot more.”

Further down the street there was further acceptance of the site - with one 32-year-old man saying it had been derelict so long people ‘had got used to it’.

Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton said he remained hopeful there would be some movement on the site soon - although he acknowledged residents had been let down before.

“It is my understanding that Mr Adam has been touch with our building control officers this week and there should be some activity within the next few weeks,” Mr Egginton said.

The mayor said a compulsory purchase order was not possible and the council was looking at every possible available route.

He added if the site was becoming a mess again he would look at the possibility of another order to tidy it up.

But members of the residents association remain unconvinced.

Mr Bainton said: “Mr Adam announced in 2009 that the first apartment would be ‘ready by Christmas’. He made the same announcement in 2010. Can we expect another ‘by Christmas’ announcement from our jolly Santa developer?”

Chad was unable to contact Mr Adam for a comment this week.