New threat to Bartlet redevelopment

CAMPAIGNERS today pledged to carry on fighting to keep Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital as a community building - and will not give up until a deal is done.

CAMPAIGNERS today pledged to carry on fighting to keep Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital as a community building - and will not give up until a deal is done.

“I think everyone thinks it is a foregone conclusion that the hospital will close and immediately be converted into flats,” said councillor Mike Ninnmey , a member of “save it” group Bartlet Care Limited.

“It will not be as easy as everyone expects.

“I understand English Heritage has already voiced some concerns because it is a grade two listed building, and the developers have been told they must leave the four Nightingale wards as they are, and also leave the dining room intact.


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“This conversion scheme will also have to include a fair amount of affordable housing. It is not going to be easy.”

Mr Ninnmey said Colchester-based Lawson Planning Partnership had now been asked to look at the site.

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“It seems we don't even yet have a planning brief for the hospital - which you would have thought would have been done first - so I believe we are some way yet from seeing any firm plans,” he said.

Bartlet Care Limited would be pressing the council to make its first consideration a community use or another medical use.

“These don't appear to have been considered yet by the planners and that is their first duty. The Suffolk Primary Care Trust (PCT) says there is no demand but we believe this has not been properly explored and there may be a number of uses which could benefit the community,” he said.

Bartlet Care wanted to take over the running of the Bartlet from the PCT but its request for a judicial review of the Department of Health decision to close it was refused by the High Court because the challenge was too late.

The PCT is now providing convalescent care for patients at home through travelling care teams and has agreed to sell the former convalescent home to PJ Livesey Group.

The potential buyers have undertaken surveys and held some initial talks with Suffolk Coastal over proposals for the property, but as yet no planning application has been submitted and no deal has been done for the sale of the site.

The Bartlet is currently serving as Felixstowe General Hospital while that hospital undergoes a £1.76 million refurbishment. When the General reopens early next year the Bartlet will close.

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

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