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Call for derelict Rossendale Hospital to be demolished
COUNCILLORS are calling for Rossendale General Hospital to be demolished following an arson attack on the site.
Firefighters put out a small fire set in a rear doorway which could have ‘ripped through the whole building’.
A security guard patrolling the boarded-up building in Haslingden Road alerted fire officers after seeing material which had been set alight pushed up against the entrance.
The fire burned through part of the door and caused damage to the plaster and brickwork above it.
Housing giant Taylor Wimpey was planning a £20million development to tear down the former workhouse and construct 170 new homes in the hospital’s grounds. However, its structural engineers discovered the building is affected by ‘serious water damage’ to later modifications and preserving the building would result in the project running at a £3.5 million loss.
Coun Anne Carter Cheetham, who is a founding member of the Friends of Rossendale General, said: “As sad as it is to say, if no one will buy it then it must be torn down.
“The devil makes work for idle hands and it’s an open invitation for vandals to set it alight or daub it with graffiti, as has been happening.
“It poses a risk for residents nearby and for the stupid people who set fires there.”
County councillor for Rossendale South, Darryl Smith, said: “It’s terrible what reckless vandals will do when a site is left boarded up for so long.
“Leaving any building derelict for so long, let alone one as prominent as Rossendale General, is always going to be a risk.
“It leaves the site open to be abused by reckless vandals, such as the ones who started the fire.
“I would strongly suggest something be done with the building before something worse happens.” Firefighters attended the scene for two hours after arriving at 12.30am on Saturday,.
Crew manager Steve Morley said: “Children need to be aware that what might look like a little fire to them can take hold and rip through a whole building.
“We were engaged there when we could have been somewhere else in the valley.”