Hospital to stay as a community asset for Southwold

Local residents are campaigning to save Southwold hospital from being developed into flats. Laurence

Local residents are campaigning to save Southwold hospital from being developed into flats. Laurence Vulliamy outside the hospital.PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Community leaders have welcomed a decision to ensure they have the right to bid first on the site of a much-loved former hospital.

Waveney District Council decided to keep the former Southwold Hospital site as an asset of community value after NHS Property Services, which owns the site, appealed the move.

Laurence Vulliamy, chairman of the Save Our Southwold (Hospital), said: 'This is such good news for the community.

'It means we can now go forward and commission a feasibility study to determine the real market value of the site, and its structural condition.

'We would also like to congratulate the town council for their foresight in listing the hospital before it closed last December, and all their hard work in preparing such a robust and legally effective response.'

A public meeting in May saw residents suggest a variety of potential uses for the site, including a new location for Southwold Library and a base for the town PCSO.

Southwold deputy town mayor Ann Betts added: 'The town council is very pleased to hear this good news.

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'We hope now the campaigning group and people of Southwold will be able to turn the site into something that the whole community will be able to use.'

A review of the appeal by Arthur Charvonia, strategic director at Waveney District Council, concluded the decision to list Southwold Hospital as an asset of community value was correctly made because the use of the building furthered the social well being of the community and it was realistic this could continue.

A NHS Property Services spokesperson said: 'We are aware of the council's decision and considering options.'

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