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Building Preservation Notice issued to save historic Sheppey military hospital

By John Nurden

Swale council has rushed through a Building Preservation Notice to protect the former Military Hospital in the abandoned Sheerness steel mill site.

The notice was served on Thursday (March 3) following a campaign by Islanders on the council’s website and in the Sheerness Times Guardian.

Peel Land and Property, which now owns the site, has revealed it wants to bulldoze the historic 200-year-old building to make way for a giant car park to store imported vehicles.

The Old Military Hospital, Sheerness
The Old Military Hospital, Sheerness

A spokesman for the council said today: “Following recent community interest about the future of the former military hospital in Sheerness, Swale council served a Building Preservation Notice to secure the building’s immediate future pending its consideration for statutory listing by Historic England (formerly English Heritage).”

The temporary protection lasts for up to six months.

The spokesman added: “Although the owners could still demolish the building, they would need listed building consent first.”

Demolishing a building with a Building Preservation Notice without consent is a criminal offence.

Campaigner Matt Brown
Campaigner Matt Brown

When a Building Preservation Notice is served the planning authority must also apply for the building to be listed on the same day. This was necessary even though Historic England is already working on an earlier listing application from Matthew Brown, a member of the Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust.

Swale council says Historic England now has agreement from the owners to inspect the building for its assessment for listing. The assessment is expected to take place on Thursday March 17.

Mr Brown, who runs Sheerness-based Master Print, said: “It was the show of community interest which brought about this action.

Imported cars now parked at the former Sheerness steelworks
Imported cars now parked at the former Sheerness steelworks

“It shows that despite the widespread apathy that exists regarding the Island’s heritage, persistence can pay off. There is still a long way to go but this fight is not going to go away. This site is vitally important to our heritage and must be preserved at all costs.”

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