News about Airedale Hospital is always worth reading. It is such a valued institution, serving a very wide area, and its staff and volunteers are held in extremely high regard in our community.

So earlier this month (Craven Herald December 3) I read with the greatest interest your front-page article about a proposal to re-build the hospital completely, up-grading it to comply with the latest thinking on environmental and scientific concerns.

But what horrified me was the almost casual information that the type of concrete used in its original construction was only designed, intended and expected to last for 30 years. (Airedale Hospital has just celebrated 50 years). How come that any building, let alone a whole hospital, should have been authorised which would have such a ridiculously brief life-span? “Built-in obsolescence” illustrated! – and at what cost to the country’s finances! “One-twentieth of the strength of normal concrete”? Whatever individual or committee authorised its use?

And then, what do I read only two weeks later? A front-page column delighting in the fact that £1.6 million has been allocated “to up-grade and refurbish facilities”. Possible work is said to include “new electrics…and replacement lifts”. Is someone seriously intending to embark on major refurbishment of a building marked for urgent demolition and re-building? Perhaps at least some of the new lifts could eventually be installed in the proposed new hospital – though I rather doubt if such sensible re-cycling would occur.

I can only beg the Airedale Foundation Trust and the North Yorkshire County Council to scrutinise again the long-term planning of Airedale Hospital, and come up with an imaginative and cost-effective scheme, not for the next 30 years, but for at least a century.

Ruth Bavington

Mayville Terrace


A response from Airedale Hospital read: "Thank you to Ms Bavington for her kind words about our Trust and our staff. We are very proud to serve our community and have been bowled over by their support, particularly over the last year.

"We have not yet received national agreement to move forward with our plans for our new hospital, and any new build would take several years to complete. We are however extremely grateful for the £1.6 million which is allowing us to tackle some of the backlog maintenance which is inevitable with an estate of the age and complexity of our hospital.

"While we can’t comment on decisions that were made in the 1960s we are very clear that our new build plans will have a far longer life span than 30 years – and be there for all of us when we need it, in the years to come."