Calls to transform old asylum to an outdoor activity centre

The now derelict 'district asylum' at Gransha. Enagh Youth Forum say the building would make an ideal outdoor activity centre
The now derelict 'district asylum' at Gransha. Enagh Youth Forum say the building would make an ideal outdoor activity centre

There have been calls for an abandoned hospital on the outskirts of Derry to be handed over for use by the local community.

Paul Hughes of Enagh Youth Forum says the now derelict building, originally the District Lunatic Asylum and most recently a temporary home for Oakgrove College, would be an ideal outdoor education centre.

“This building should be restored,” he says.

“An outdoor education activity centre is just what our rural communities need. The potential here is unbelievable, if only the city’s planners, Ilex, Derry City Council and the Western Health and Social Care Trust could see the potential for such a project.”

But the Western Health and Social Care Trust (WHSCT), owners of the building, say the future of the old asylum is currently being determined.

“The property referred to as the ‘District Lunatic Asylum’ at Gransha is Glenelly/Dennett House and is owned by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPSNI),” a WHSCT spokeswoman told the ‘Journal’.

“A Disposal Project Board has been established by the Western Trust, comprising of representatives from DHSSPSNI Health Estates Investment Group (HEIG), Western Trust and Land and Property Services (LPS).

“The objective of this Board is to produce and implement a strategy for disposal of surplus lands/property at the Gransha site, which includes Glenelly/Dennett House,” the spokeswoman added.

Mr Hughes says it is vital the city’s built heritage is preserved and says the derelict hospital could be of great benefit to the local community.

“This building is part of our cultural, social heritage and should be restored for the betterment of all citizens of Derry/Londonderry.”

The asylum was built in the late 19th century and opened in 1903. Most recently it hosted Oakgrove pupils from 1992 to 2007.