A Starting Point

July 2023 by Trevor Dale

Good news. The National Lottery Heritage Fund phase 1 application was submitted ahead of schedule in the last week of May 2023. Now we have to wait patiently over the summer to see if we’ve been successful. Should we be successful then we will have further professional assistance to guide us through the phase 2 part of the application with submission in the second half of next year.

We have received many letters of support from local groups, organisations and individuals. Thank you to every one of you, it is good to know that we are pursuing a project that will meet the needs of the local community.

Whilst we wait we’d like to show you why it’s so important that the cottage is rescued as soon as possible. Although parts of the building are in fair condition, much of it is in poor condition as a result of years of under-investment, perhaps understandably as the NHS focused its funds on those parts of its estate that could be used for clinical purposes. The result is that the old Cottage Hospital requires extensive repairs before it will be in a fit state to be opened for community use. The following photos are just a few selected examples of where work is necessary. They do not touch on the need to provide an entrance to the building from the front; the need for toilet and kitchen facilities; a change to the configuration of the internal stairs so that they are no longer a trip hazard; the encasing of asbestos or the provision of adequate heating in order to stop damp incursion and make the building more welcoming!

The roof as you can see desperately needs some care and attention. Although it is generally in fair condition there are some broken corners to tiles, isolated delamination and lichen growth generally. The vertical hanging tile cladding is showing signs of disrepair with tiles slipping, missing and areas of tiling mismatched. Overhaul and repair of these areas will be required. There are missing sections of guttering which have caused excessive dampness to accumulate to perimeter walls in places and this has also caused defects to the brickwork which will need repointing with suitable lime-based mortar.

In one of the upstairs rooms, previously used as a ward, the rear wall is in very poor condition with blistering paint and loose friable plaster and debris/plaster within the fireplace opening, resulting from water ingress.

The old operating theatre has clear signs of water ingress around the fireplace with blown and loose plaster and crazed paint. Elsewhere in the room the floor is bowing in several places and, along with the rest of the upper floor, will require strengthening and sound proofing before it can be used for community use.

The Operating Room

Overall it is a very extensive programme of work that we will not be able to commence before the end of 2024 assuming that we are successful with the current National Lottery phase 1 application and subsequent phase 2 application.

Originally published in The Cranleigh Magazine