A historic nursing home which is falling apart looms as a big impediment to Wollongong Hospital's expansion.Part of the state heritage-listed Eloura House must be demolished to make room for a new six-storey, 120-bed hospital wing, setting the scene for the city's next heritage battle.It has stoked fears the project could be delayed should planners be forced back to the drawing board.If approved, a large 1941 extension jutting from the western side of the 1937 art deco and functionalist-style building will be razed.Both the Heritage Council of NSW and Wollongong City Council have reserved judgment about the proposed demolition.Neither were consulted about the demolition plan before it was revealed by the Mercury yesterday.They will reveal their positions in submissions lodged with NSW Planning and Infrastructure by the end of January.The building, which fronts Loftus St, is listed as a heritage item in the State Heritage Register, the Wollongong Local Environment Plan and the NSW Health Heritage and Conservation Register.It is the oldest structure on the hospital site but has fallen into a state of disrepair, particularly inside, where many rooms cannot be occupied. It is used for obstetrics and gynaecology, as well as administration.Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay said heritage complications must not delay or complicate the project."Because this is a very important project and it needs to be completed as soon as possible," she said."There are many examples of where development has embraced and incorporated heritage and I think as long as everyone is on the same page, this can be delivered as a priority and doesn't have to be an issue."The new building would house seven operating theatres, a 60-bed surgical ward and a 24-bed intensive care unit.Work on the emergency department will provide 14 new recovery beds, 11 more treatment bays, 11 new acute treatment areas and a larger public waiting area.The cluster of older buildings on the north-eastern corner of the site as items of state significance are described as "the most prominent example of the modern or international style of architecture in Wollongong" and important landmarks despite being architecturally bland.The buildings are considered significant to Wollongong and NSW for their ability to demonstrate an important aspect of the history of hospitals and nursing.A Wollongong Council spokesperson said the council would consider the heritage credentials of the building in its submission to government.