Landmark for Bartlet campaigners

CAMPAIGNERS were celebrating today after conservation chiefs agreed to give listed status to Felixstowe's threatened Bartlet Hospital - ensuring it cannot be demolished.

CAMPAIGNERS were celebrating today after conservation chiefs agreed to give listed status to Felixstowe's threatened Bartlet Hospital - ensuring it cannot be demolished.

They are also hoping the decision will persuade health chiefs to keep open the convalescent and rehabilitation unit, which will now be less attractive to developers looking to make a profit from converting it or building on its site.

English Heritage is to award the Bartlet, on Bath Hill, Grade II* status - recognising it as “particularly important and of more than special interest”.

Councillor Andy Smith, who first suggested listing the building at a public meeting, said: “This is excellent news - it will give us much more control over what happens to the Bartlet.

“We are now hoping this move will have an impact on the Bartlet's value as far as the health authorities are concerned and will affect the viability of closure of the hospital and persuade them that it makes more sense to keep it open.”

Councillor Mike Ninnmey, who worked on the listing application and researched vital evidence to show its architectural importance, said the listing was “fantastic news”.

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Before there had been the real risk of closure and demolition of the Bartlet, with its whole site used for housing, or conversion of the seafront property to upmarket flats.

“The listing, I am told, applies to the outside and the inside of the building - so that will mean no demolition, no building in the grounds and very little alteration inside,” he said.

Campaigners are waiting for Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to decide the future of the Bartlet after the Primary Care Trust's plans to close it were referred to her by the county health scrutiny committee.

No-one was available to comment from the PCT today.

Do you think the Bartlet should be closed? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

Felixstowe's disappearing building heritage - page 18.

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