A CONTROVERSIAL planning application to demolish the former Rossendale General Hospital building for houses has been submitted.

Housing giant Taylor Wimpey has submitted the plans, that would see 139 homes built on the site, off Haslingden Road, in Rawtenstall.

The hospital closed in September 2010, and has not been used since. Local heritage campaigners were keen to keep the old workhouse building, but bosses at Taylor Wimpey said this is not possible.

A spokesman for the developers said: “Having established that the former workhouse was of local signifcance, further work was commissioned to investigate the potential for the building to be refurbished. The condition survey identifed that the building was in a poor state of repair. Although the exterior of the building is largely sound, internally extensive water ingress since the building closed has caused signifcant damage.

“As a consequence of these reports, it was determined that the refurbishment of the workhouse for either residential or employment uses would not be commercially viable and that it would therefore have to be demolished to allow the redevelopment of the site.”

The developers have held a number of con-sultation events in the area. They have delivered leaflets to 366 local addresses, and held a public exhibition in December, where they said they had 20 per cent support for the proposals.

They have also held meetings with Rossendale Civic Trust, the ward councillors, the leader of Rossendale Council, Coun Alyson Barnes, and the MP Jake Berry.