Southwold campaigners oppose appeal

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

Campaigners trying to keep a much-loved former hospital for public use have vowed to fight an appeal to stop them having the first 'right to bid' on the site.

Southwold Town Council succeeded in getting the old Southwold Hospital listed as an 'asset of community value' after it was closed last year.

That would give them the chance to put an offer in on the site before anyone else, potentially meaning they could beat a commercial developer to the sale and keep the popular building for community use.

But NHS Property Services, which owns the site, has appealed the decision.

Laurence Vulliamy, chairman of the Save Our Southwold (Hospital) campaign, believes NHS Property Service's appeal will only serve to galvanise the community in campaigning for the hospital.


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He said: 'I am very optimistic we have a very good case against NHS Properties Limited.

'They have appealed on the grounds that the hospital did not promote social well being, which is absolute tosh; local people were able to recover and to die in the bounds of their local community, which is a clear example of the asset's social well-being function.'

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Southwold mayor Melanie Tucker added: 'We will put forward the strongest appeal we possibly can.

'Clearly NHS Properties Services Limited is appealing using grounds which they think are appropriate, but we believe they are also appropriate to challenge.'

The town council plans to complete its appeal by May 4 before it is sent to Waveney District Council's legal officer, who will make the final decision as to whether the initial listing of an asset of community value still stands.

A public meeting is scheduled for May 9, from 6pm in St Edmund's Hall, Southwold, to enable organisers, of Save Our Southwold (Hospital) campaign, to obtain the public's approval for completing a feasibility study, which will look in more detail at the costs of buying the building and keeping it for community use.

During a full meeting of Southwold Town Council on Tuesday (April 26), councillors Jessica Jeans and Will Windell were nominated to advise and work with the steering group until a feasibility study has been completed.

What do you think should happen to the former Southwold Hospital site? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email andrew.papworth@archant.co.uk

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