Plea for community use for Bartlet

CAMPAIGNERS may have lost their battle to save Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital from closure, but today pledged to fight on to force the authorities to find a community use for the building.

CAMPAIGNERS may have lost their battle to save Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital from closure, but today pledged to fight on to force the authorities to find a community use for the building.

It's odds-on the former convalescent home will become luxury flats, but the Bartlet Care Limited protest group said it still felt other uses should be explored.

“We will try to frustrate the planning process for as long as we can and make our objections known when a planning application comes in,” said Barry Farr , vice-chairman of Bartlet Care Limited.

“We were left very disappointed that the Bartlet will no longer serve the purpose for which it was built, but our firm belief is that another health use or a community use of some kind could be found for this building.


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“It should not become luxury flats. It was intended to serve the community and all possibilities should be explored.”

Mr Farr said one idea was that the Bartlet could be used as a centre for alternative medicine.

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This could then fit in with suggestions that Felixstowe should return to its Victorian roots as a spa town to provide a theme for the resort and encourage others to develop businesses and attractions along a fitness, health and sporting line.

Bartlet Care wanted to take over the running of the Bartlet from Suffolk Primary Care Trust (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 some initial talks have been held 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.

Do you think hospital-based convalescent care is needed any more? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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