Residents’ fight to stop Rushden Memorial Clinic being turned into flats

Rushden Memorial Clinic
Rushden Memorial Clinic

Residents are unhappy with plans to turn part of the town’s history into a block of ‘box’ flats.

Rushden Memorial Clinic originally opened in January 1950 to serve the ever growing population of Rushden and surrounding villages.

Rushden Memorial Clinic

Rushden Memorial Clinic

But it was replaced by the Nene Park Outpatients Clinic which opened in Attley Way, Irthlingborough, in 2011.

Plans to convert and extend the existing memorial clinic in Hayway to create 12 one and two-bedroom flats with shared amenity space and associated parking have been submitted.

The application also includes construction of two bungalows and associated parking within the grounds of the existing building.

Documents submitted as part of the plans say the existing property is to be retained and refurbished, and the proposal looks to ‘celebrate and protect’ the existing features of the memorial clinic.

But residents are unhappy about the plans on the grounds of increased traffic congestion, mass form of development, 12 ‘box’ flats and the history surrounding the building.

Cllr Dorothy Maxwell, who represents Rushden’s Spencer ward, said: “Many residents during the Second World War contributed to the purchase of the clinic for local people and gave weekly sums to ensure that this happened to help returning service personnel and refugees from London.

“Sensibilities relating to the war must be respected.

“When the NHS took it over it clearly helped thousands of people to be able to have treatment locally and created access to specialist treatment for service personnel returning from conflict, rather than them having to visit Northampton General Hospital.

“We would like to see this building being used again, but not altered externally, in order that it is retained as a memorial to all the people who gave money to create the clinic.

“Adding flat roofs, and creating 12 flats, like rabbit warrens, and changing the exterior, is not the way forward.”

Cllr Maxwell said residents feel four apartments or two houses within the building would ensure that the clinic would be retained as part of Rushden and Higham Ferrers’ history.

Residents carried out a traffic survey last week, reporting 6,000 vehicles using Hayway in the space of 13 hours.

She said: “This road has two schools, a church and a shoe factory.

“It is used as a rat-run to Rushden Lakes on a daily basis, and the police and ambulance services use it from Wellingborough.

“This traffic has increased to the extent that it now causes traffic issues on a daily basis for local people.

“Therefore we hope that the planners at East Northants Council and councillors will listen and reject this application before it is too late.

“We have enough flats in Rushden, including 150 in Station Road just built with little parking.

“How many more do we need in Rushden which has now become ‘flat city’.

“Please say no to this application and remember those who gave money to help others during and since the Second World War.”

Cllr Maxwell is urging people to have their say on the plans by sending their views by letter or email to East Northants Council, which will consider the application.

About 300 people have already signed a petition against the plans, but Cllr Maxwell is hoping more people will sign it in the coming weeks.

A copy of the petition is available to sign at 99, Higham Road, Rushden.

For more information about the plans, search for 18/0046/FUL on the planning page of the council website.