Updated: Saturday, 25th May 2019 @ 8:13am

Fight to save Ancoats Dispensary on verge of defeat as Manchester City Council approve demolition request

Fight to save Ancoats Dispensary on verge of defeat as Manchester City Council approve demolition request

By Jonathan Humphries

The battle to save the 140-year-old Ancoats Dispensary is on the verge of defeat after Manchester City Council approved a request to demolish it.

Developers Urban Splash submitted the request last year after a £1million government grant to repair the decrepit Grade II listed building, on Old Mill Street, was axed.

Council chiefs agreed to the destruction of the former hospital building at a meeting on June 28, on the condition that some of its unique features are put into storage.

However Cllr John Longsden, of Bradford ward, insisted that Urban Splash could have prevented the last remaining part of Ancoats Hospital from reaching its current state.

He said: “I think the developers are a waste of time and they are only interested in the money, not in saving the building.”

Urban Splash has owned the building since 2001 but did not apply for funding for temporary repairs it until 2009, when it was declared a danger to the public.

“I’ve got a soft spot for Ancoats Hospital because they saved a relation of mine years ago, and I think it’s an important part of the area’s history.

“If we could go back 10 years then something could have been done,” said Cllr Longsden.

Cllr Longsden originally raised objections to the proposed demolition but withdrew them due to the building’s undeniably fragile state.

He said: “At this point it’s the lesser of two evils. If it’s not taken down, it will fall down but at least some of the features can be saved.”

English Heritage worked with several groups to try and find a solution, but with the cost of securing and repairing the building estimated at £710,000, saving it was deemed impractical.

The group also withdrew its initial objections and expressed regret that the building could not be salvaged.

“It has been an unfortunate victim of circumstance,” a statement read.

“With no other options, we very reluctantly accepted that there was no realistic way of saving the building for future generations.”

A planning meeting with MP Tony Lloyd, on July 28, could provide a glimmer of hope for the building by referring the decision back to committee if new information is found.

Urban Splash were unavailable for comment. 

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