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Firm Apologises for Demolishing Old Hospital Without Consent

A demolition company has apologised for knocking down Dover’s old Buckland Hospital without consent, after angry resident saw workers from Yellowstone Homes Limited tearing down the roof of the run-down building.

Dover District Council confirmed that the company lacked both approval and permission to knock down the building and issued a Temporary Stop Notice. The demolition firm admitted its mistake, saying that they could only apologise and move on.

Yellowstone Homes Ltd director Jimmy Digges admitted that the company had acted in error and said that no more demolition would take place until the council supplied consent. He explained that the contractors appeared on site on February 27. The intention was for them to ‘soft strip’ the structures and remove all asbestos, but they assumed that building control approval was all that was necessary for demolition when planning permission was required.

Yellowstone Homes Ltd purchased the old Buckland Hospital at auction in December. The four-acre site was described by the auctioneers as a prime redevelopment area.

Mr Digges explained that both building control and Health and Safety Executive inspected the partly demolished building. It was agreed that the remaining part of the building would be made safe and the partly demolished structures would be removed.


Structural Defects Insurance

He confirmed that Yellowstone Homes Ltd had purchased the site with the intention of obtaining planning consent for a residential project. A pre-application meeting has been arranged, where ideas will be proposed for the site.

Mr Digges also addressed the concerns of local residents regarding asbestos, saying that there was none in the section of the building that had been demolished – and any found present elsewhere in the building would be carefully removed.

He said that a full asbestos survey had been undertaken, and all asbestos would be removed by a licensed contractor.

The district council posted a planning notice on its website stating that Yellowstone Homes Ltd intended to demolish the building on March 20, but workers jumped the gun and started work nearly two weeks early.

A spokesman for the council said that a Temporary Stop Notice had been served on the owners of the site of the former Buckland Hospital, requiring the demolition to stop, as they do not have approval or permission.

The former Buckland Hospital was a workhouse when it opened in 1846, and became a hospital in 1948. In 2015, it closed after a new Buckland Hospital opened in the same location.

Mr Digges added that the buildings had been vacant for a number of years, and despite security being implemented, people have been accessing the site to steal metals like copper. Children have also been known to enter the site.

He pointed out that the buildings are currently derelict and have been repeatedly vandalised. People who enter are exposing themselves to risk of injury and other problems. The logical approach, and the goal of Yellowstone Homes Ltd , is to complete the demolition as quickly as possible.

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