Councillor accuses colleague of “political stunt” over Thetford Cottage Hospital petition

Thetford lord mayor Terry Jermy, left, and twon councillor Mike Brindle at Thetford's former Cottage

Thetford lord mayor Terry Jermy, left, and twon councillor Mike Brindle at Thetford's former Cottage Hospital site. Picture: VIA MIKE BRINDLE - Credit: Archant

Town councillors have clashed over a petition to bring a derelict community hospital back into use.

Mike Brindle is spearheading the effort to reopen the Cottage Hospital in Thetford, which has lain empty since 2006, with support from mayor Terry Jermy.

But at a meeting of the Greater Thetford Development Partnership community sub-group on November 30 Roy Brame accused the Labour councillor of conducting a 'political stunt'.

The Conservative councillor suggested that the future of the Earl Street facility, which was sold to a private owner by the NHS six years ago, should have been discussed by the district council rather than through a petition.

He said: 'We both think something should be done about the Cottage Hospital. I have been working on it for several months, trying to get something done, and I could not quite understand why two town councillors pulled a political stunt to start a petition.

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'Why did they not bring it to the town council? We then could have discussed it, then gone to Breckland Council with an official letter. I could have been done correctly.

'What I said at the meeting was that I thought it should not be put on the sub-group meeting agenda until after the county council elections.'

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Mr Brindle said he had been invited to the sub-group meeting to talk about the Cottage Hospital and found Mr Brame's comments 'very offensive'.

'He said I was 'playing politics'. A number of the committee members asked him to apologise and he did not.

'It is a lovely building, 120 years old, built for and paid for by the people of Thetford. It should be taken back into community use.'

The petition to reopen the facility has gained more than 1,600 signatures and is due to be discussed by Breckland Council in January.

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