The transformation of Reading’s historic Dellwood Community Hospital into a care home has been given the go ahead.

Dellwood was built in 1894 and opened in 1920 as a maternity hospital and adapted from then on until it was closed by NHS decision makers in 2005.

Now the building can be transformed into a care home.

The main building will contain communal space, a reception and offices, and an ‘unsympathetic’ L shaped extension will be replaced with a new extension which will contain 56 bedrooms the care home beneficiaries will stay in.

READ MORE: Dellwood Hospital set to become care home 

John Horsman, agent for developers Montpelier Estates, explained the new residents would benefit from a 24-hour nursed service, catering for those with dementia or physical limitations.

The application received broad support from councillors and conservationists.

Evelyn Williams of Reading Conservation Area advisory committee, supporting the scheme, said: “The plans demonstrate with a willing developer, heritage buildings can be successfully reused within a larger development, and that Reading’s heritage policies can protect buildings with important tangible and intangible heritage.

She added that although Dellwood is not listed, it still has a key place in Reading’s history.

Evelyn Williams said : “It’s an important part of the town’s heritage and the personal history of those living here today.”

READ MORE: Plan to demolish and replace Dellwood Hospital withdrawn 

Cllr Jo Lovelock (Labour, Norcot) spoke about how Dellwood played a part in her family history as she gave birth to her son in one of the building’s 20th century extensions.

She said: “As someone who was born there, and gave birth there I can take great delight in telling my son that the bit he was born in is being knocked down, but the bit I was born in is being kept!”

The hospital had a maternity ward for decades, with many residents having their children there and being born at Dellwood.

Disaster struck in 1954 when a fire broke out on site, which killed 13 babies.

A number of children were saved from the fire thanks to the heroism of nurse Freda Holland, who received an award for her bravery.

Council planners successfully added a condition which binds Montpelier Estates to install a memorial to nurse Freda Holland in her honour.

Reading Chronicle: Dellwood Hospital in Liebenrood Road, West Reading. Credit: Google MapsDellwood Hospital in Liebenrood Road, West Reading. Credit: Google Maps

Cllr John Ennis (Labour, Southcote) raised concerns about the 33 car spaces provision, as other parts of the site are used by Sue Ryder hospice and an NHS physiotherapy treatment facility.

Mr Horsman said traffic would be “fairly low key” and perceptions of care homes being busy with traffic are unfounded.

He said: “Visitors tend to come at the weekend, but probably not as often as people might think.

“As far as staff are concerned, a number will be coming by public transport.”

The care home will have 55-60 full time staff.

Ultimately, the plan was approved unanimously by the committee on Wednesday, June 1.

You can view the application by typing reference 211728 into the council’s planning portal.