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Hospital under the hammer: Lowestoft Hospital to be auction after previous plan collapses

PUBLISHED: 17:30 28 September 2018 | UPDATED: 19:33 28 September 2018

Lowestoft Hospital. Photo: Nick Butcher.

Lowestoft Hospital. Photo: Nick Butcher.

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A former hospital is to be placed under the hammer, after plans to dispose of it through a government housing scheme collapsed.

Mark Flynn, director of finance at James Paget HospitalMark Flynn, director of finance at James Paget Hospital

Almost two years after closing, the former Lowestoft Hospital is to be sold at auction, potentially as soon as next month.

The site on Tennyson Road, which is owned by the James Paget University Hospital Trust, was originally set to be sold through Homes England - formerly known as the Homes and Communities Agency.

However, when this option was taken off the table earlier in the year, the trust was sent back to the drawing board in deciding what to do with the building.

Mark Flynn, JPUH director of finance, said the Homes England plan fell apart when the department could not come to an agreement with Waveney District Council over the building’s facade - which the council wanted to preserve.

Instead, board members at the James Paget agreed the next best option was to send the site to auction, likely to be held in London with auctioneers Allsop given the responsibility.

Mr Flynn said: “We have had long discussions around the future of the site and this is a well tried and tested route which comes at the advice of the Department of Health.

“Our hope is the site will go to a really positive use that will best benefit people living in the area.”

The director revealed a range of alternatives were considered before reaching this decision, including a direct sale having received proposals from a housing supplier.

However, after seeking the advice of the Department of Health, it was decided by financial bosses at the hospital that auction was the right option.

The decision was then ratified by members of the hospital’s board of directors, who unanimously voted in its favour.

Asked by hospital governor Terry Rymer for a timescale, Mr Flynn said the auction could be held as soon as October.

Mr Flynn also confirmed a reserve price would be included, as well as restrictions on how the outside of the building can be altered - though there is to be flexibility over its use.

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