A popular 19th century landmark in the grounds of a Sheffield hospital is set to be demolished this week.
The water tower at The Northern General Hospital is due to be knocked down as part of plans made earlier this year to save more than £350,000 on disused buildings on the hospital site.
Workers have already begun to gut the building and have fenced off the area.
Conservationists have criticised plans to demolish the water tower as well as nine other derelict buildings at the Northern General Hospital – some dating back more than 100 years.
The plans are opposed by Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society, who say they suspect the properties – including a gardener’s apartment, a supplies store and a former electricity sub station – are being removed to create extra car parking spaces.
Tony Goff, a member of the Hallamshire Historic Buildings Society, said: “There is only one more water tower like this left in the area. It was used over the whole development.
“There would have been a pump house too. Water was pumped into the top and then provided even water pressure. It was very important.”
“It was part and parcel of our social history and is tied up in our heritage so it is a shame that it is has to go.
“These buildings have been sat there for years not being used and all shut up so they can’t have spent that much money on them and I don’t know how much money this will really save.”
It is not yet known how the site will be developed further but a spokesman at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals has said that the money saved will be reinvested into patient care.
Phil Brennan, estates director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said:“Demolition work on the water tower at the Northern General Hospital site is beginning this week. The building is disused and unsuitable for use for patient care, and is therefore surplus to requirements. Demolition will save the Trust money on its operating costs, and clear the site for possible future use. Our priority has to be to spend money in a way that has the most benefits for patients, and empty buildings which are unfit for purpose incur unnecessary maintenance and other costs, such as business rates, as well as posing a potential risk of arson and vandalism.
“The demolition will not cause any disruption to patient care.”