Councillors have delayed their decision on plans to demolish parts of the disused Rauceby Hospital to make way for more housing, so they can visit the site.
Developers Barratt Homes want to demolish six of the old ward blocks - which they say are in such a poor state that they would be unviable to renovate - to make way for 100 new homes, a convenience store and a community building.
Two former nurse accommodation blocks and the old administration building would be saved and turned into six more homes while the adjoining conservatory would be used as a covered walkway.
But officers had advised last Tuesday’s NKDC Planning Committee to refuse the scheme after a number of historical conservation groups and Historic England had objected with concerns about substantial loss to the conservation area.
But Robert Galij, for Barratt Homes, said that harm was outweighed by the public benefits. He also said the books needed to balanced - pointing out to renovate two more blocks would cost an additional £3million.
Mr Galij further revealed they had not yet come close to securing a business to move into the convenience store premises.
Coun Jan Brealeycook, speaking for Sleaford Town Council, said they regretted the degree of demolition, but they felt making the area presentable and safe was their first priority.
Coun Terry Boston was far from impressed, saying: “You have chosen to demolish some parts and chosen to neglect these premises and build on other parts. Do you think it is fair to pick and choose?”
Mr Galij defended his company saying: “We have done what we can to retain the status of these buildings, their perimeter and security.”
Ward councillor Mark Suffield said he had been contacted by 52 residents, 49 in support of the application.
He added: “It is a shame we will be losing so much of the history but removal of the substantial harm with the anti-social behaviour and insecure compound would definitely be of benefit to the community.”
Coun Geoff Hazelwood feared what state the site could end up in. “I could see if this is not done we will be looking at it in another 10 years and dilapidated further,” he said.
Coun Ian Carrington argued: “There is a very natural desire just to get the damn thing done, but we are effectively accepting second best, however I do not think we should.”
He proposed a deferral till the next meeting in six weeks’ time allowing members to visit the site in its present state to gain a better understanding.