Empty hospital costs £1,000 a week

IT will cost more than £55,000 this year for Felixstowe's closed Bartlet Hospital to stand empty, it was revealed today.

IT will cost more than £55,000 this year for Felixstowe's closed Bartlet Hospital to stand empty, it was revealed today.

Health officials are trying to negotiate with council chiefs to get the business rates on the property - the main cost while it awaits a decision on its future - reduced or even removed.

But the overall cost for the building to do nothing is currently more than £1,000 a week.

The details were obtained via a Freedom of Information request made by Roy Gray, chairman of the Save Our Felixstowe Hospitals action group.

He said: “I think the figures are very interesting. Here we have a building which has now stood empty for six months and it likely to stand empty for some time to come and it is costing us all.

“Obviously there has to be security because the building must be protected, but it is ridiculous to think it is costing tens of thousands of pounds doing nothing.”

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The letter from John Mew at the Suffolk Primary Care Trust said business rates this year for the former hospital and convalescent care unit would amount to £28,182.

He said: “However, we are currently negotiating with Suffolk Coastal District Council to reduce the charge to zero. The council are yet to make a decision on this.”

In addition, security patrols are costing £1,397 a month, and fencing cost £3,948 to put up and rent for the first six months.

The rental for the fencing for the next six months has just been renewed at a cost of £1,819 per month.

The PCT has agreed to sell the Bartlet to developers PJ Livesey Group, if they get permission to convert the seafront property into luxury apartments.

The trust says the deal is progressing as planned and expects a planning application to be submitted later in the year.

No details have been made available yet of how many flats the PJ Livesey Group believes it can create in the building, which has panoramic sea views, or its annexe, part of the original Bath Hotel torched by suffragettes.

The Bartlet became surplus to requirements following changes to convalescent care with patients now sent home from hospital to be looked after by travelling care teams.

Should the Bartlet be turned into fancy apartments? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk