Renewed criticism over sale of Bartlet

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital from closure today made an official complaint over the way the sale of the building has been handled.

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to save Felixstowe's Bartlet Hospital from closure today made an official complaint over the way the sale of the building has been handled.

They believe it was not marketed widely enough and claim proper planning procedures have not been followed for the redevelopment of a listed building and such a prominent site.

Mike Ninnmey, of the Bartlet action group, said: “We have been very dissatisfied by this whole matter.

“We have been unable to understand why a local agent who knew the building and site was not used, why adverts in Suffolk newspapers were not displayed prominently and why a planning brief for the site was not drawn up before it was advertised for sale to give potential buyers guidance.

“We were told there had been 'numerous' people wanting to buy the building - but then it turns out there were only four applications, one of them from us.

“I don't call that numerous or a successful marketing campaign.”

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Suffolk Primary Care Trust has agreed to sell the former convalescent home to PJ Livesey Group, but as yet no deal has been concluded.

The potential buyers have undertaken surveys and held initial talks with Suffolk Coastal District Council over proposals for the property, but as yet no planning application has been submitted.

Mr Ninnmey said: “There seems to be no back-up plan - no second preferred bidder in case the current deal falls through. We still believe the building should have a community use.”

Martin Royal, Suffolk PCT's programme director for business development, said: “We carefully considered all of the four applications we received.

“Bartlet Bequest Action Group's application did not provide the required basic information nor was the offer acceptable to the NHS in terms of best value so we could not consider it further.

“We have a good understanding of the relevant planning policy around use of redundant public building and the PCT is fully compliant with these requirements.”

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