Is nurses’ home development legal?

Sir,

I would like to reply to the query about Mexborough Montagu Nurses’ Home, raised by Les Atkins of Bolton-on-Dearne in the March 17 edition of your paper.

The land for the nurses’ home opposite the hospital buildings on Cemetery Road has not been sold – yet.

It has been reported that Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital Trust executives are looking to “save money” and the disposal of surplus land and property is one of their strategies.

The Trust decided that the nurses’ home was no longer viable and chose to demolish the building to make instant savings, apply for outline planning permission for a residential development (to get a higher price for the land) and then try to sell the land to a third party.

In answer to your query about Captain FJO Montagu, he sold the land to the Hospital Trust and there is a record of the land being “tied” to the Montagu Hospital “Estate” (if you like); you are absolutely correct.

In the Charges Register kept at Nottingham Land Registry, the details of the conveyance of the land dated May 10, 1930, states that the land does indeed have certain covenants that “run with the land”.

These include: “(1) Not to erect on the said land any buildings other than extensions to the present Hospital or buildings to be used in connection with said Hospital not more than six dwelling houses (with or without stables carriagehouses and the usual conveniences)…”.

There are other stipulations (I have interpreted) including that it cannot be used for trade or as a public house or off-licence, and that the Hospital Trustees must not allow anything to be done that would cause nuisance or annoyance, nor to interrupt the right of light or air, to the owners of neighbouring properties.

I believe that these covenants actually stand in law today.

Even though written in 1930 they usually have to be overturned in a court of law, before anything can be done with the land other than is stipulated.

So, my query is, can anyone confirm or deny this status?

I would like to know if Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospital Trustees have actually had the restrictive covenants repealed.

If not, their plans to build numerous dwelling places may fall foul of the law, and the good intentions of Captain FJO Montagu, for the health and the “good” of the Mexborough community.

I myself am particularly concerned about adding further congestion to an extremely busy road that will undoubtedly occur if numerous houses or flats are to be built.

Mexborough people are proud of their heritage and services; couldn’t the community have been asked whether we would like to have had the old building converted for some hospital service before razing it to the ground?

I have heard some say an Occupational Health Unit with a gym and hydrotherapy pool would have been a very good idea, so they do not have to travel to Doncaster or Rotherham.

I do find it strange that no-one, meaning local community, (excepting hospital people in the know), seemed to know anything about the demolition until it was almost happening.

It wasn’t cited in local papers under public notices or on the DMBC Planning website and neighbours didn’t receive consultation notices until a week before demolition started.

I have read with interest the reasons Doncaster and Bassetlaw executives have given for their decision – but I would like to make the point that Mexborough Montagu is a fine hospital and the old building could have been converted for use by Mexborough folk.

I have been a patient twice and (along with other members of my family) have nothing but exemplary praise for its staff and services.

We would like to see the hospital develop and improve for the benefit of Mexborough people, as was intended.

I feel the demolition of the old building is an example of how progress is seen in the eyes of a large organisation, despite the real needs and wants of the Mexborough community.

The nurses’ home was left to stagnate for a couple of years – deliberately it seems – and before that it was kept in reasonable repair.

It was a sound, solid building of similar ilk to that of College Road Secondary School... and that has been refurbished and benefits the community.

Colin Southgate,

Mexborough