Hospital sales comes under criticism

CAMPAIGNERS have accused health chiefs of having a “fire sale” by trying to sell the Bartlet Hospital too quickly and for not enough money.

CAMPAIGNERS have accused health chiefs of having a “fire sale” by trying to sell the Bartlet Hospital too quickly and for not enough money.

Prospective purchasers have been told they must have their bids in, including complete details of what they want to use the building for, by mid December.

But campaigners say the Suffolk Primary Care Trust should not be worrying about the future use of the building and should just be trying to get as much money for it as possible.

Mike Ninnmey , of the Felixstowe Save Our Hospitals Action Group, said: “They have put a price of £1.95 million on this building, yet we have seen other seafront sites in Felixstowe sold for far more per acre.


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“Now they are saying all bids must be in by December 15. It's a fire sale.

“I cannot understand why they don't put it up for auction with a reserve of £1.95m and see how much they can get for it.

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“We already know the PCT has previously had the Bartlet and its annexe valued at £3m.

“This is a public building, owned by the public, and the PCT has a duty to secure the best price it can for the benefit of the community.

“I cannot see what the hurry is as the purchasers will not take possession until spring 2008.”

Chartered surveyors Boshier and Co, who are marketing the convalescent and rehabilitation unit, have said bid must be submitted by December 15. A short-list of three will then be drawn up and candidates interviewed in the week starting January 8.

Purchasers are being asked for details of their finances, their projects for the Bartlet, timescales, and details of previous work. The PCT wants to ensure a “high quality but affordable scheme”.

Martin Royal, director of business development for the PCT, said: “We are working with both the East of England Strategic Health Authority, to ensure our actions are appropriate and show good governance, and Suffolk Coastal District Council planners on the sale of the Bartlet.

“We do have an obligation to market the hospital for community or residential home use which is what we are doing currently.

“We are waiting for expressions of interest before December 15, but if we feel that any proposed purchase price is not adequate - or that proposals for the building are not appropriate - then we are prepared, with planning consultants, to look at alternative uses if no viable community use can be demonstrated.”

There was a need to protect the Bartlet for future generations and any potential buyer must demonstrate experience and expertise with historic buildings.

WEBLINKS:

www.boshier.com

www.suffolkpct.nhs.uk

What would you like to see the Bartlet used 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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