No signs of progress on eyesores

The former Bull and Monkey pub, Church Gate, Spalding. Photo:  SG040613-150TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
The former Bull and Monkey pub, Church Gate, Spalding. Photo: SG040613-150TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto
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Here are some of Spalding’s most depressing eyesores -–and they’re likely to stay that way for the forseeable future.

The Spalding Guardian has identified five of the town’s development hotspots, with no immediate signs that any of them will be transformed into worthwhile assets.

The old Royal Mail sorting office,The Crescent, Spalding. Photo:  SG040613-126TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

The old Royal Mail sorting office,The Crescent, Spalding. Photo: SG040613-126TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

Two hospitals, a former sorting office, land that was once a car showroom and a boarded-up pub have generated debate among residents, business leaders and councillors for the last five years.

But despite the fact that planning permission already exists on some them, hopes they will become new buildings for residential or commercial use appear to be slim.

The former Bull and Monkie pub in Churchgate was meant to be demolished in 2007 to make way for a 70-bed care home after the site was bought for about £650,000 by British Virgin Islands firm Crispen Holdings.

Plans for the care home were drawn up by Hertfordshire-based architects RDT Designs in March 2009, three years after a previous scheme to build 22 houses and flats on the site had to be shelvedand the firm set to build them went into administration.

The old Johnson Hospial site, Priory Road, Spalding. Photo:  SG040613-124TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

The old Johnson Hospial site, Priory Road, Spalding. Photo: SG040613-124TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

But a spokeswoman for RDT Designs said: “Nothing is particularly happening on the Bull and Monkie site and nothing is likely to happen there for some time.”

Another development that seems to be on hold is the former Royal Mail sorting office in The Crescent.

In October 2011, South Holland District Council gave planning permission for the building to be demolished so that 12 apartments could be built in its place.

The building is owned by the Keeling family but no comment had been received from them at the time of going to press.

An empty plot is all that remains of the former Welland Hospital site in Roman Bank, Spalding. Photo:  SG040613-112TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

An empty plot is all that remains of the former Welland Hospital site in Roman Bank, Spalding. Photo: SG040613-112TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

Perhaps the most iconic site is the old Johnson Hospital in Priory Road that closed in June 2009 when health services were transferred to the new £25 million Johnson Hospital in Pinchbeck.

The old building was sold to Dryden Ltd in October 2010 and as recently as last August, talks were held about turning it into a dementia care centre.

Coun Roger Gambba-Jones, cabinet member for operational planning, said: “We do keep an eye on the building to make sure it’s not being misused.

“It has a varied number of possible uses, including part of it that’s okay for residential use.

Land dubbed the 'Berlin Wall' at Winsover Road where plans for a new Spar store were passed in 2009. Photo:  SG040613-121TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

Land dubbed the 'Berlin Wall' at Winsover Road where plans for a new Spar store were passed in 2009. Photo: SG040613-121TW. www.spaldingtoday.co.uk/buyaphoto

“What’s strange is that people are there repairing and restoring it, but we’ve not heard of any definite plans.”

Meanwhile, the future of the former Welland Hospital site is also uncertain after the building was demolished in 2011.

The site is owned by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust whose spokesman said: “The Trust has been exploring a number of options for the disposal and subsequent development of this land.

“Currently, advice is being taken from a national firm of planning consultants who are working with a development team to examine all of the different development constraints and opportunities.

“It is hoped that certain proposals will be able to be formulated in the fairly near future but there is nothing else to advise at this point in time due to issues of commercial confidentiality.”

The final site under our spotlight is on Winsover Road where plans for a new Spar store were passed in September 2009 despite more than 650 objections from residents.

A Spar spokeswoman said: “The plans to build a Spar store in Spalding will be going ahead some time in the future but unfortunately we cannot provide any specific time frames at the moment.”

Coun Howard Johnson, cabinet member for economic development, said: “None of these sites belong to the council so all we can do is await and encourage development.

“We’re having ongoing discussions with landowners across the district and we engage with developers to see if we can provide any assistance.

“But at the end of the day, it’s up to the individual property and landowners to bring their plans forward.”