Derelict Reading hospital set to become care home
Dellwood Community Hospital in Reading, the scene of an infamous fire in 1954, looks set to become a care home.
The building in question was originally a hospital and then a maternity home, having been built in the 1890s as a private dwelling. The site was the scene of tragedy in the 1950s when a fatal fire took hold on an Easter Sunday. The event saw a nurse, Freda Holland, being awarded the George Cross after she saved several babies from the blaze.
The hospital was eventually closed for good in 2005 after the NHS ruled that it was no longer able to function as a modern healthcare facility. It has remained derelict ever since and was boarded up in 2021 to prevent vandalism.
A recent proposal from specialist healthcare developer Montpelier Estates to demolish the building and construct a new state of the art care facility was rejected after the local conservation area advisory committee objected to the ‘over-intensification of the site’. The committee instead suggested that the existing building be refurbished and extended.
Having gone back to the drawing board after admitting that it had not been ‘aware of the significance’ of the building and its long history, Montpelier has now applied to convert the existing building and surrounding site into a 52-bed care home. Under the new proposal, the restored building would benefit from a three-storey extension.
With planning officers having already recommended that the new plans be approved by Reading Borough Council, it seems very likely that the historic site will soon be brought back to life once again. The council is expected to make its decision in early June.