Homes plans at former Hales Hospital, near Loddon, given extra time

The owner of a derelict former hospital near Loddon was urged to get on with the redevelopment of the listed building after plans for 44 new homes were renewed.

Proposals for Hales Hospital, in Yarmouth Road, Heckingham, were first approved in 1997 and were renewed again in 2006. South Norfolk Councillors granted a new planning permission extension today, but gave the applicant two years to make a start on the conversion.

A planning committee heard that the owner, S A Sheikh, of London, had requested a five year time limit and council officers were recommending approval of a three year extension on the former hospital, which is on the listed buildings at risk register.

Ray Houghton, of Norwich-based property consultants Bidwells, said it was their intention to 'coerce' the owner to make a start on the redevelopment as the costs will increase the more the building deteriorates.

Planning officer Helen Mellors said the site had been the victim of vandalism, but the building was not about to fall down.

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Councillor Christopher Kemp said a two year planning permission extension could force the owner's hand to start work.

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