PLANS to transform part of the old Mansfield General Hospital into a pharmacy have been thrown, with the applicant being ordered to ‘stop wasting our time’ by a planning committee member.
The controversial application was put before Mansfield District Council on Monday evening, but was shot down with all members of the planning committee unanimously voting to reject the idea.
The application made headlines last month after locals accused the owner of the West Hill Drive site, Mumtaz Adam, of simply submitting the plans as a delaying tactic to ward off mounting pressure from residents to transform the derelict eyesore.
They said if planning permission was granted, he need not start work for another three years under planning regulations without fear of Mansfield District Council making a compulsory purchase order.
But Mr Adam rejects the claim saying Mansfield needs a late-night chemist in a bid to keep patients with minor illnesses and injuries from attending an already-overcrowded accident and emergency department at King’s Mill Hospital.
He also claims that an NHS contract for the pharmacy is granted to the hospital and can not be used elsewhere.
Speaking after the decision, Mr Adam said: “It costs a lot of money just to get to this stage, would a person spend that money and effort if they had no intention?
“Business people, especially small business people, would not waste money like this.
“I had every intention of putting this pharmacy in place, and I will appeal this decision.
“By denying me permission, they have denied the good people of Mansfield a valuable healthcare facility which is not available presently.”
But just prior to the application going to the vote, Coun Katrina Atherton jokingly referred to the recent horsemeat scandal before adding: “I think we have been fed another by-product of horses here tonight.
“With such health expertise, Mr Adam needs to take a healthy dose of reality.
“He needs to move this site forward and stop wasting our time.”
Mansfield General Hospital was the first purpose-built hospital to serve the town and was constructed in 1877 on land donated by the Duke of Portland.
The hospital cost £2,000 and opened in 1890. It closed its doors in 1992 and has been owned by Mr Adam since 1994.
After Mr Adam took ownership, the site was used originally as a school although he insisted the long-term plan was to convert the site into upmarket apartment blocks. Planning permission to create 133 apartments was given in December 2005, but no work has been carried out.
Occupying four acres of land, it has been a magnet for anti-social behaviour in the past and today remains in deterioration with boarded-up windows, fencing and strewn with knee-high weeds.
Fed-up residents have spent years calling for work on the crumbling hospital to begin, saying it was not only an eyesore, but was bringing down property prices in the area.
After Monday night’s decision, Roy Bainton, chairman of West Hill Residents’ Association said: “We were very relieved- when we heard Mr Adam’s ‘spirited’ defence of the idea, it was one of the most enjoyable nights we, as a residents’ association, have had, purely for the entertainment value.
“Mr Adam seems to think this is a personal vendetta, it’s not. The people of this area have had enough, and this was one silly idea too far.
“We do not know what the future holds for him now, but if I was him I would take the money he was going to spend on a pharmacy and do what he was meant to do.”