Felixstowe: Fight is lost as former Bartlet Hospital to be turned into flats

FELIXSTOWE: Despite a series of protests and objections, campaigners are today set to lose their long-running battle to stop the former Bartlet Hospital being converted into luxury apartments, The Evening Star can reveal.

It will be a big disappointment for the action group which tried desperately to find a new use for the building, and had been hoping for a major benefactor to come forward to fund its plans.

The Bartlet Bequest Action Group wanted to convert the old hospital on Bath Hill into a “health village” for a number of clinics, plus community activities. But it has failed to raise enough cash to make a bid to buy it.

Now time has run out with Suffolk Coastal’s south area development control sub committee being recommended to approve plans to convert the grade two-starred listed building into 21 luxury flats when it meets on January 5.

The old nurses’ home would be turned into seven properties, with three new town houses being built in a terrace in the grounds,

Suffolk Coastal planning officers are happy with the project providing revised plans are received to overcome a number of concerns, including proposals for two flats and dormer windows in the roof, which the health authority has already agreed to remove.

The Bartlet, nestling in cliffs overlooking Felixstowe seafront, has been standing empty for more than three years since it closed and has been attacked by vandals.

Most Read

Planning case officer Michaelle Coupe says apartments are a suitable use for the property.

However, there will be no affordable housing in the scheme and no contribution to playspace in the town as this would make the development unviable.

“It is considered there is a case for not seeking affordable housing provision and outdoor playspace contributions as they could prejudice the long-term conservation of this important historic asset,” said Ms Coupe.

“The applicant’s intentions to make funding from the sale of the Bartlet available to improve Felixstowe’s health facilities through the provision of a new doctor’s surgery is welcome.”

NHS Suffolk said it had been marketing the site since 2006 and there had been no offers for re-using the site for healthcare purposes or other community or employment-generating uses.

Some interest was received from a care home operator at one stage, but the listed status caused conversion problems.

NHS Suffolk said it would re-market the building once planning permission was secured.

n Are luxury apartments the best use for the Bartlet? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or alternatively you can send an e-mail to eveningstar letters@eveningstar.co.uk

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter