CALLS to save a Victorian workhouse from demolition have been backed by the county’s top archaeologist.

Plans to demolish Clitheroe’s community hospital to make way for a new housing development have been criticised by protesters including officials from the Victorian Society.

They want planners to incorporate the workhouse into proposals to build housing at the Chatburn Road site.

The NHS has submitted an outline planning application for permission to build houses on the site. If approved, it would increase the value of the site for sale to a property developer. The proposals will be discussed by councillors tomorrow.

Now after the concerns from the Victorian Society the Lancashire County Archaeological Service has now raised concerns.

Despite this the plans are set to be approved.

In a report to Ribble Valley Council the environment directorate states: “The county archaeologist withdraws his initial comments and adds his support to the Victorian Society’s recommendation that the application be refused.” Alex Baldwin, conservation adviser for the Victorian Society, said demolishing the building would strip the town of its history.

He said: “The demolition of the building would be damaging, wasteful and unnecessary.”

English Heritage said the building is not listed because of its “relatively modest architectural style”.

The Clitheroe workhouse was opened in 1873 and was designed by JJ Bradshaw of the Bolton architect’s practice, Bradshaw, Gass and Hope, which still exists, and was constructed using local stone from Coplow Quarry.

A new hospital is set to be built on land next to the existing one.