Repair work starts on run down hospital

REPAIR work on a dilapidated hospital building is today well underway.Minsmere House, on the Ipswich Hospital site, is used to house elderly mentally ill patients but over the years the 1970s flat-roofed building has become increasingly shabby.

REPAIR work on a dilapidated hospital building is today well underway.

Minsmere House, on the Ipswich Hospital site, is used to house elderly mentally ill patients but over the years the 1970s flat-roofed building has become increasingly shabby.

In February The Evening Star revealed the shocking conditions in the unit after a whistle-blowing health worker provided us with photos of damp and mould on the walls, cracked and peeling window frames and water running on to a light switch.

The Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust, which owns the building, stressed that an extensive programme of repair work was about to begin.

Today, two months later, the £50,000 programme of work is well underway and is due to be finished by the early summer.

Mark Kittle, estates officer for the trust, said: "All of the wooden panels around the bottom of the building, that had been affected by damp, have been removed and all of the window frames have been replaced.

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"All of the emergency exit doors have been replaced, except one set, and work has also been carried out on the roof to prevent it leaking."

Builders are currently putting the finishing touches to some of the outside walls where panelling was removed and then painters will be called in to completely revamp the outside.

Mr Kittle said: "The work's already been going on for almost two months but we have had some setbacks because of the weather.

"If the weather holds out for us now, I'd expect it all to be complete by early June."

Mr Kittle said there are no immediate plans to carry out work on the inside of the building but said the work being done to the outside should help to solve any problems with damp.

Eventually the trust plans to replace the building completely, rebuilding it elsewhere on the hospital site.

This would be done in the first-phase of an ambitious redevelopment programme which would eventually see many of the buildings on the St Clement's site moved to Heath Road.

It is hoped this will be done within the next two years.

Do you have relatives in Minsmere House? What do you think of the repair work? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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