Court battle over derelict Wolverhampton eye infirmary
The crumbling former eye infirmary in Wolverhampton is at the centre of a courtroom battle between the council and health bosses after the city’s NHS trust missed deadlines to clear up the wreck.
The authority served an enforcement notice on the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust earlier this year, ordering bosses to complete a major clean up operation at the dilapidated Compton Road site, which has stood empty for a decade.
But the council says that some of the work has not taken place – and it has now emerged that the matter has gone before the courts.
The trust, which owns the site, has appealed against the notice.
An initial hearing on August 21 was adjourned, with a further date scheduled at the city’s Magistrates Court on November 8 in front of a district judge.
Should the judge rule to uphold the notice, the council could launch a prosecution against the trust.
Wolverhampton Council spokesman Oliver Bhurrut said the trust had responded to the notice, which was put forward in February, by appointing a contractor to carry out work on a number of the issues highlighted.
“But this falls short of meeting all the requirements laid out in the notice – in particular, ensuring the historic buildings on the site are repaired and well maintained,” he said.
“We are unable to comment further at this stage as court proceedings are ongoing.”
The Labour council has demanded the trust complete a series of tasks to spruce up the site, which over the years has been ravaged by fire and has been the subject of numerous complaints from residents over squatters, druggies and vandalism. They include: repairing perimeter fencing, removing all rubbish, clearing away overgrown foliage, maintaining old buildings and repairing damaged roofing and windows.
The trust is said to have failed to meet an initial deadline of May 20 for the first stage of the work. Park ward councillors have become increasingly frustrated over the years of inactivity at the site, which is widely regarded as Wolverhampton’s biggest eyesore. Councillor Craig Collingswood called for the NHS to sell the land so it can be redeveloped for either retail or homes. “This site has been derelict for far too long and the trust needs to take urgent action to make some positive progress,” he added. There is a desperation in the local community to get the site occupied. Everyone would welcome extra regeneration in Chapel Ash, which is one of the up and coming areas of the city.”
Sally Evans, for the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, said: “The trust is continuing with work to clean up the appearance of the site.”
Parts of the building date back to 1856 at are Grade II listed.