Anger over beach hut
IT has panoramic sea views and is worth thousands of pounds, but this NHS building is not going to be sold off.The cliff-top beach hut, just off Golf Road in Felixstowe, could be worth as much as £10,000 but its owners, the Suffolk East Primary Care Trust, have no plans to sell it to ease their financial crisis.
IT has panoramic sea views and is worth thousands of pounds, but this NHS building is not going to be sold off.
The cliff-top beach hut, just off Golf Road in Felixstowe, could be worth as much as £10,000 but its owners, the Suffolk East Primary Care Trust, have no plans to sell it to ease their financial crisis.
Its existence came to The Evening Star's attention after it was advertised for staff use in the trust's weekly newsletter, and has angered those campaigning to save the Bartlet.
Peter Mellor, a member of the Save Felixstowe Hospitals action group, said: "Morally, it's indefensible. It's another example of money being wasted."
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The PCTs pay Suffolk Coastal District Council a ground rent of about £275 a year for the hut, but raise money for its upkeep by charging staff £5 a day to hire it.
Jeremy Peters, spokesman for the trusts, said: "This is an asset for staff to use and runs at virtually no cost to the PCTs.
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"It is not comparable to the hospitals because they cost money to run, and we can provide better ways of caring for patients without the hospitals.
"We're not selling things for the sake of it and there would be no point in selling something that is an asset for staff and does not cost money to run."
It is believed the hut has been owned by the east Suffolk health system for at least 30 years.
In the PCTs' weekly newsletter 'Wise' the hut is described as "in a splendid location on the fornt row on the cliff top in Felixstowe, with immediate access to the beach and within easy walking distance to Felixstowe Ferry".
Staff were also told: "The hut has recently been repainted, and other benefits include nearby toilet facilities and a water stand pipe."
Suffolk East PCTs are currently considering proposals to sell off the town's Bartlet Hospital in order to help pay back some of their £47.9m debt.
They are also looking at closing a number of mental health day services and Hartismere Hospital in Eye.
Save Felixstowe Hospitals action group member Ian Heeley said the plans to close wards and cut services but keep the beach hut was "a farce".
He said: "For me it's an absolute farce. They are running down wards, they are running down facilities but if they took off their sunglasses they would see the stress they are causing the community."
Fellow action group member Janice Makison, of Goyfield Avenue, Felixstowe, added: "It's an insult. They make me so cross. Why sell the Bartlet if they're not going to sell the assets?"
Do you think the beach hut is money well-spent? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org