Bartlet on market for £2million

FELIXSTOWE'S Bartlet Hospital is on the market for £1.95 million, it was revealed today.The price is more than £1 million below the value of the property in Suffolk Primary Care Trust's accounts, and has surprised some observers.

FELIXSTOWE'S Bartlet Hospital is on the market for £1.95 million, it was revealed today.

The price is more than £1 million below the value of the property in Suffolk Primary Care Trust's accounts, and has surprised some observers.

Last year the PCT gave the Bartlet and its annexe a “book value” of £2.65m. Now it has a book value of £3m but health officials say that does not reflect what it will make on the open market.

Campaigner Mike Ninnmey said he was “very surprised” at the difference.

“I cannot see the point in having one figure on your accounts and another when it comes up for sale. In any case, I would have thought £1.95m was cheap for a listed building of this nature and size,” said Mr Ninnmey, a member of the Save Our Hospitals Action Group.

Observers say if it was simply the Bartlet's 3.5-acre site for sale for redevelopment with no building on it, as a prime seafront site that would fetch considerably more than £3m.

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However, the property's listed status could make it less attractive to purchasers, who will be restricted in changes to the building although conversion to other uses would not be impossible.

The Bartlet currently has permission for use as a “residential institution” for the care of people, as a hospital or nursing home, school, college or training centre.

The PCT has already had talks with Suffolk Coastal planners about the future of the site and officers “have indicated that an alternative planning use may be permissible if no viable community use can be demonstrated”.

This could lead to a redevelopment as offices, such as headquarters for a business, or for luxury apartments with panoramic seaviews.

If a change of use is approved, the buyers will be required to pay the PCT 60 per cent of the increased value of the building and its site resulting from the alternative use or redevelopment.

The book value of assets can be very different from their real economic value to an organisation - which will depend on replacement cost or resale value.

Martin Royal, project director for the refurbishment of Felixstowe General Hospital, said the PCT had been told by the Strategic Health Authority it would be allowed to keep the whole sale sum.

The money would be ploughed back into services - not paying off debts - including refurbishment of Felixstowe General, though a “bridging loan” from the SHA may be necessary until the sale is completed.

The trust is also applying for grant aid from the government's £750m five-year community hospitals programme for the work.

WEBLINKS: www.boshier.com

www.suffolkpct.nhs.uk

What would you like to see the Bartlet use for in future? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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