Halesworth’s Patrick Stead Hospital could be turned into community asset following success of Southwold scheme

Patrick Stead Hospital, Halesworth.
PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Patrick Stead Hospital, Halesworth. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A study is to be carried out into the possibility of making Patrick Stead Hospital in Halesworth a community asset.

Halesworth Town Council was told taking over the hospital, which is earmarked for closure, could be 'very beneficial' to the town during a meeting on May 8.

The idea follows a similar move in Southwold where, after the closure of the hospital, a committee was formed to get it recognised as a community asset.

Both Patrick Stead and Southwold Hospital were closed as part of HealthEast's plan to replace them with out-of-hospital services and beds in care homes in November 2015.

Talking about the developments in Southwold, Peter Dutton, chairman of Halesworth Town Council, said: 'They have achieved a hell of a lot and it has been very interesting to see how they work.

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'The district council, town council, GPs, and interested residents have all worked together for one objective - to bring that hospital building into use for the community.

'They are going to move a library there, and are going to generate income from starter businesses based there.

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'By working together they have been able to achieve that and so the obvious idea is, can we do the same in Halesworth?'

Councillor David Thomas warned that there could be a lot of work involved in getting a project off the ground, however.

He said: 'It's not just a case of 'do we fill in a form or don't we?'.

'If on investigation, the recommendation is that the town council deals with this rather than some other organisation, then it does require a detailed look.'

Decisions whether it should be taken on by Halesworth Town Council or another committee group of local residents and business owners in the town are ongoing.

The council agreed the town development committee should carry out an investigation into the potential of it becoming a community asset.

Anyone interested in the project can email clerk@halesworthtowncouncil.org.uk.

• What do you think of the idea? Write, giving your full contact details, to Beccles and Bungay Journal Letters, 20 Blyburgate, Beccles, Suffolk, NR34 9TB or email bbj.letters@archant.co.uk.

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