Movement at last on the “oval wards”

Corumbene Care proposes to convert Willow Court’s Esperance,
left, and Derwent buildings into a health and wellbeing centre.

THE two remaining hospital wards on the eastern side of The Avenue at Willow Court are the subject of a development application advertised by the Derwent Valley Council yesterday.

Public comments have been invited on the proposal of Philp Lighton Architects on behalf of Corumbene Care to redevelop the Derwent and Esperance buildings. The development application documents can be read in the public notices section of the Derwent Valley Council website.

The two buildings are often referred to as the “oval wards” due to their location next to the former Royal Derwent Hospital recreation ground, which is now the site of the New Norfolk Woolworths supermarket. They are the site of a stalled residential development that was approved in 2012, with Corumbene chief executive Damien Jacobs today describing the ownership issues as “complicated”.

The documents lodged with the council say that Corumbene proposes to convert the buildings into a $4.5 million health and wellbeing centre with shops, offices and a medical centre, along with future plans for a child care centre and residential dwellings.

Two adjacent buildings, named Franklin and Glenora, were demolished after suffering arson attacks in 2012 and 2018 respectively. Despite these losses, multiple original buildings remain on the western side of The Avenue, as well as Frescati House which is adjacent to the Corumbene development site. 

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