Published: 12:00, 30 June 2017
| Updated: 12:07, 30 June 2017
A developer has finally revealed plans to convert a cherished former hospital building into new flats.
The former Ashford Hospital site in Kings Avenue, off Godinton Road, is being developed by Abbey Developments into new housing and flats.
Abbey had previously wished to knock down all of the buildings, which were originally built in 1926 and paid for via public subscription in the days before the welfare state.
Planning permission for 56 homes was granted in 2010, but in February 2015 the council refused to give permission for the developer to bulldoze the former administration block at the heart of the site.
Abbey appealed to the Planning Inspectorate, but lost its case in November 2015. After that, the building was left untouched, prompting fears from campaigners that the developer was neglecting the site.
But now the company has revealed its plan to convert the building into four two-bedroom flats, complete with en suite bathrooms and a shared kitchen and dining areas.
The news has been welcomed by Kentish Express historian Steve Salter, who has raised concerns about the dilapidated state of the building.
He said: “I’m absolutely jubilant to hear the news, I’m over the moon. The site is well worth it, the developers can’t be seen to be ridding every area of its heritage. The old hospital shouldn’t be destroyed, it is part of the town’s tapestry.
“I’m pleased that they have come up with this plan to return the building to use and to convert it. It’s a significant part of the town’s heritage, and it’s a tribute to the people of Ashford who raised money and those who worked there.
“I just hope the developers follow through with the plans.”
A consultation into Abbey’s plans is open to the public and will remain open to comment until Thursday, July 20.
The council will review the plans by August. To view them, visit the planning section at www.ashford.gov.uk and search for reference 17/00925/AS.