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Royal Victoria Hospital site expected to become homes as demolition plans submitted to Folkestone and Hythe District Council

By Molly Mileham-Chappell

A derelict hospital in Folkestone is expected to be converted into homes, with fresh documents revealing plans to flatten other buildings at the site.

An application has been made to Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC) to demolish redundant outbuildings and extensions to the main Victorian building at the former Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH).

Rumours over the future restoration of the site, which opened in 1890, have circulated for many years, but new literature confirms it is proposed for residential redevelopment, subject to planning permission.

Fokestone Royal Victoria Hospital.part of the hospital that is boarded upPicture: Paul Amos FM3971469 (3763443)
Fokestone Royal Victoria Hospital.part of the hospital that is boarded upPicture: Paul Amos FM3971469 (3763443)

The main building, which is currently boarded up, is set to be retained and converted, while more new homes are earmarked for other parts of the site.

It comes after campaigners pushed for the RVH to be upgraded with greater health or social care facilities.

In the application form, agent Paul Carnell from Strut and Parker on behalf of applicant Leo Griggs from Alliance Building Ltd, states: "The buildings to be demolished are to facilitate the redevelopment of the site, which has been left derelict for a number of years.

"Some of the buildings have deteriorated to the point where they are almost a health and safety risk, thus there is a wider benefit from removing them from the site."

The statement adds that asbestos will be removed by the client prior to the work, while debris will be recycled by its material.

If demolition is agreed, work is planned to last eight weeks from the beginning of June, between 8am and 6pm on weekdays, and 8am and 1pm on Saturdays, if required.

The land has been allocated for some time in FHDC's housing strategy plans and a dormant planning application registered for the Radnor Park Avenue site.

The Express backed a campaign by members of the Women's Institute in Folkestone, who led calls for improved health care or social care at the site, in the wake of more housing planned and a growing ageing population.

Last year, it came to light Kent County Council (KCC) completed a seven-site acquisition from the NHS in a deal worth more than £3.5 million, which included the RVH.

The potential future of the Royal Victoria Hospital site
The potential future of the Royal Victoria Hospital site

Negotiations were agreed for the 2.3 acre site off Folkestone’s Radnor Park with contracts expected to be signed off on the site, deemed suitable for either healthcare or 40 new homes.

KCC spokesman Murray Evans said at the time the authority was unclear what the future holds for the ex-healthcare facility: “I have no idea about future plans for the site, which will be a matter for the new owners and the district council.”

Royal Victoria Hospital, Folkestone.Picture: Gary Browne FM4215443 (6656929)
Royal Victoria Hospital, Folkestone.Picture: Gary Browne FM4215443 (6656929)

Victoria Seal, KCC’s head of property, told the Express last year the authority had not 'at any point' bought the site 'for our own use' and was put up for sale with Savills.

The site was then purchased by RVH Folkestone Ltd.

KCC spent £3,636,000 buying the sites from East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust after talks started in April 2016.

Part of the deal for the RVH included KCC buying out a legal covenant granted in the 19th century which releases it from being solely used as a charity hospital.

The portfolio’s sale was completed last year, and was marketed on Savills’ website as an 'edge of town residential location'.

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