Condemned tower block at Carlisle's Cumberland Infirmary to be demolished

SHARE THIS STORY
The unused hospital tower block will be knocked down
The unused hospital tower block will be knocked down

A redundant tower block building at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary has been condemned and is scheduled for demolition.

Having stood largely unused for years, there has long been talk of demolishing the building, which stands next to the main hospital.

At one point bosses were looking at turning it into a multi-storey car park or leasing the building to a third party to generate income.

But the News & Star can reveal the building was condemned shortly after the 2015 floods, when excessive rain penetrated the building and electrics. Bosses must pull it down or agree extensive repair work.

North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said the tower is no longer in use, aside from some storage, which is gradually being moved out.

The News & Star requested details about the building under the Freedom of Information Act. It confirmed the building will now be flattened.

The trust said: “The building has been scheduled for demolition and was condemned shortly after the 2015 floods and is no longer in use. It houses minimal storage that is almost fully decanted.

“We are in the process of finalising plans for use of the site that include demolition. These will be made public upon approval.”

The News & Star asked for details about the cost of the building, including essential maintenance and utilities costs. The trust would not publish any figures, stating only that minimal security maintenance has been paid to Interserve Facilities Management, the firm which is also contracted to maintain the main infirmary building.

In terms of utilities, it added: “The trust does not have separate charges for the building. Utilities are part of site wide contracts and systems.”

The news comes more than six years after bosses agreed a refinance deal that took the tower block building out of the controversial Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract – a mortgage-type deal which funded the new-build infirmary.

This meant that, until 2010, responsibility for the tower block was with PFI partner Health Management (Carlisle) PLC. But the refinancing meant responsibility for the tower went back to the trust, which set up a separate agreement with contractor Interserve to look after the premises day-to-day.

In 2011, the trust said it was looking at the possibility of leasing the space out to a third party, but plans never came to fruition.

At one point, the block’s use was being reviewed as part of a potential takeover by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, which has been shelved. The trust said the site will now be looked at as part of a wider review of NHS buildings across the area.

This ties in with the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) currently being drawn up for the area, creating a long term vision of how services will be developed across north and west Cumbria.

Comment on this article

Generate a new code
David   Osborne , Maryport Sunday, 26 February, 2017 at 11:00AM
They say this building will be looked at as part of a wider review of NHS buildings across the area. Personally, I think the land, once the tower has been demolished and the ground cleared and cleaned up, should be used for a multi-storey carpark, as originally mentioned as part of the solution to the parking situation at the hospital.
Reply
Reply to this comment

Generate a new code
Roy   Loton , City of Carlisle Tuesday, 14 February, 2017 at 9:19AM
Told many years ago that the NHS does not have a million quid to demolish building and besides latest news who is paying for this now folly of a hospital building. Land put to good use for more beds, new services... Besides what about the apparatus on the roof, either functional or not? I recall taking a nurse back to WCH that had been flown on helicopter to CIC. I was informed in chatter, that she was shocked, having seen hospital from new and the way it had been appeared to have been deliberately run down ... does this not appear similar with new unpaid hospital ? Quality of acre ? Unaffordable schemes...
Reply
Reply to this comment

Generate a new code
Jimmy   Jamieson , Carlisle Monday, 13 February, 2017 at 7:28PM
They said it was beyond repair or service years ago. Seems as if the people of Carlisle have bee well and truly had.
Reply
Reply to this comment

Generate a new code
Libda   Weightman , Carlisle Monday, 13 February, 2017 at 7:14PM
Before the move to a very expensive PFI, the cost of total refurbishment of the Tower Block was £12 million. What a pity the powers that be didn't see the sense in that instead of signing up to a scheme that lined the pockets of others and ruined our NHS!!!
Reply
Reply to this comment

Generate a new code
Comments not OK? Click here to let us know
Have you read?
#proudcumbria