Whitecroft Hospital Planning Decision - the ghosts don't get a hearing
While agreeing to a revised application for the old hospital/asylum site, councillors have thrown out plans for a number of new houses, describing them as "too contemporary and completely out of character" with the Victorian red-brick hospital buildings.
There was however, no mention of the hospital's haunted history, which has been described by one objector as 'the elephant in the room' at the meeting.
Councillor Paul Fuller, said, "The whole ambiance of the scheme supports Victoriana on the site, not modern and contemporary buildings."
At a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council Planning Committee on 29th November, councillors voted 4-3 against allowing the ultra-modern designs and there was criticism of the 'hard grey brick' glass and wood which developers had wanted to use. The applicants were told to "go back to the drawing board on the grounds that the modernistic looking homes were totally out of context there. To see the proposals for the old (and haunted) Whitecroft Hospital site Click here to see what's planned and be patient - it's slow to load
New developers, West Register (Realisations) Ltd, were seeking: Demolition of partially completed structures chapel, PCT building and laundry block, and residential development comprising a total of 122 units (construction of 60 houses retention of apartments as built in blocks D RT and T conversion of blocks A B C and H into apartments (62 in total)) retention of marketing suite associated parking and landscaping alterations to pedestrian access. The developers told the planning committee, "It is our aim to produce a sensitive master plan to improve the setting of the Victorian buildings. We feel that a mix of styles will broaden their appeal." They added, "We are keen to start work as soon as permission is granted."
Some of the new homes proposed for the site - which were rejected as 'too contemporary' are pictured above.
When the plans were advertised, no fewer than 65 letters of comment and objections were received by planners and the hospital's haunted reputation featured in some. But not for long however .... this comment from a Binstead resident, was quickly removed from the council's website:
"I have been following the re-development with interest over the last few years, as myself and my partner considered purchasing an apartment there two years ago. However when the glossy sales literature itself managed to feature an image of The Pines buildingwith what appeared to be a disembodied man's gray face at the window of a first floor appartment, we were both put off! Shocked (and disturbed by this) I queried it with the sales staff based at Whitecroft in the marketing suite and was told quite openly, "we are aware of this and a potential problem in that apartment and others." Having also visited other new-build sites around the Island, I have been told by their sales teams that a number of residents at Whitecroft Park are now looking to move due to unexplained happenings in their properties. I am no ghost freak, but I would seriously question whether this site is suitable for further development (particularly attracting families and children) before it firstly has been exorcised? This sounds daft I appreciate it, however, what can the new developer do to sell properties there which the previous developer couldn't - particularly when there are first-hand stories such as this circulating the IOW?
Yet another letter referring to ghosts read: ... "There is no escaping the very fact that this was the site of the former County Lunatic Asylum. This is a planning application, and as such, should not become a forum for 'ghost stories'. I do feel however, that one brief mention should be made. There are many down to earth people out there who have had, or know someone who has had nasty experiences there. I personally know a gentleman who was in close contact with the first developer who admitted that some of the apartments remained unsold because of this. Will the new developer be any more successful? Truly a 'what to do with Whitecroft' dilemma indeed. To see the applications and comments click here and then go to the section'View Comments'
You can read about some of the ghosts sightings in Ghosts of the Isle of Wight IV and in Most Haunted Island (book 6)
Like a small self-contained town, Whitecroft Hospital was an Island institution for a century. This 'Isle of Wight County Lunatic Asylum', opened in 1896 at a cost of £45,000 .
As attitudes to mental health changed, it became Whitecroft Mental Hospital, then Whitecroft Hospital. It closed in 1990, a century after the first Victorian pauper inmates were admitted, Whitecroft Hospital is no more. Like other redundant asylums elsewhere in the country, it is being redeveloped. The old hospital has long been reported, documented, and well-known as a most haunted place, with paranormal groups given permission to investigate ghosts there in the past.