Vagrant cell to be displayed as feature at old Melton hospital site

Plans have been approved to showcase an historic former vagrant cell in an area of public open space as part of the redevelopment of the old St Mary’s Hospital site in Melton.

By Nick Rennie
Friday, 29th July 2022, 11:24 am
The location (yellow box) of where the vagrant cell (left) will be in the open space at the new development at the old St Mary's Hospital site and (right) a close up of what the area will look like
The location (yellow box) of where the vagrant cell (left) will be in the open space at the new development at the old St Mary's Hospital site and (right) a close up of what the area will look like

Borough councillors had already given permission for 37 new homes to be built on the land, off Thorpe Road, but they were keen to see the heritage of the site, which also contains remnants of a workhouse and vagrant cells, which campaigners also fought to save.

The workhouse will be converted into eight of the properties, retaining elements of its character, and the planning committee has also now given permission for one of the cells to be displayed as a feature in the open space area on the new development.

A decision on the vagrant cell, which dates back to 1895, was deferred at a meeting in March for more information to be provided on how it was to be retained.

A vagrant cell (left) on the old St Mary's Hospital site and (right) the derelict site viewed from Thorpe Road

Planning officer, Gareth Elliott, told the planning committee at their latest meeting that displaying the cell in open space was seen as an ideal location for people to see it and that it could also be viewed from the street in Thorpe Road.

The new homes – a mix of two and three-bed, terraced and semi-detached properties – will front on to the main road and each will have two parking spaces.

The hospital site has been vacant and derelict since the nearby new Melton Mowbray Hospital was opened in 2006.

Homes England had initially applied to knock down the vagrant cells but thousands of local people supported petitions to keep them as an important part of the town’s history.