Leicester

Leicester Royal Infirmary' St Luke's chapel faces demolition

A Victorian hospital chapel threatened with demolition could be dismantled and rebuilt, according to a campaigner.

St Luke's is due to make way for an expansion of A&E at the Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI).

City councillor and heritage champion Adam Clarke said not enough thought had gone into the plans and saving the chapel.

But NHS officials said the urgent need for more treatment space, and limited funding, meant demolition must happen.

In June NHS England figures showed the LRI's emergency department was one of the worst performing in England.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Figures released in June showed 83% of A&E patients were seen within four hours against a target of 95%

St Luke's was built in 1887, designed by local architect William Beaumont Smith, and contains various memorials to the work of doctors and nursing staff.

Mr Clarke, who recently stood down from the planning committee over conservation issues, believed removing the chapel was premature as final plans for the new unit were not in place.

He said: "The chapel and the new A&E are not mutually exclusive. We can save the chapel and that can be integrated into the new A&E given a little bit more thought, a little bit more time and yes, a little bit more money.

"That might mean taking it down and re-erecting it later but let's not forget there is not a penny in place for this new A&E at the moment ,yet the NHS and developers intend to start demolishing the chapel tomorrow."

Dr Mark Ardron, a consultant in Acute Medicine, said: "Our current emergency department is overflowing and any delay means more people waiting in accommodation which is not suitable.

"The plans are well advanced. It takes a long time to get the ducks in a row but we are very close to that and any delay in building or increase in cost will affect patients."

The plans are due to be discussed by the city council's planning committee later.

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