Health campaigners in Sudbury urge NHS Trust to think ‘longer term’ and not sell off last piece of land it owns in the town
PUBLISHED: 19:30 21 November 2018 | UPDATED: 22:10 21 November 2018
Site owned by West Suffolk NHS Trust included in new proposals for 235 home development
Campaigners in Sudbury have urged their local NHS Trust to think “longer term” and not sell off land they say is the “obvious” location for expanding health services in the town.
The plot of land, located next to Sudbury Health Centre on Churchfield Road, is owned by West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSNFT) and is included in a proposed development of 235 residential houses.
Campaign group Sudbury WATCH says the land was originally earmarked for “health or community related use” but the Trust says the new proposals align with its local plan and that selling “land that is not being used for patient care creates funds that we can invest to improve healthcare services”.
In recent years, WSNFT has sold three of its assets in Sudbury - the Walnutree Hospital and St Leonards Hospital sites, and Harps Meadows, known locally as People’s Park - which have generated £6 million for the Trust, according to Sudbury WATCH.
Chairman of Sudbury WATCH, Nigel Bennett said; “Our opposition to the proposed development is that the land is strategically important as the last piece owned by West Suffolk NHS in the town.
“We would like West Suffolk NHS to look longer term to meet the future health needs of Sudbury, Cornard and surrounding villages, where there is predicted to be a growing, elderly population with more complex medical needs.
“This site [next to the current health centre] is the obvious area where you could expand health services.”
Director of resources at West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, Craig Black said no decisions have been made about the site, as yet.
He said: The NHS has a duty to look at how to make its land and buildings work better. Selling or generating income from surplus property or land that is not being used for patient care creates funds that we can invest to improve healthcare services.
He added: “We’re looking at what healthcare requirements Sudbury might need now and in the future - this focuses much more around prevention of illness and improving health and wellbeing, by providing co-ordinated, joined up care and proactive support that can help people keep themselves well.”
A consultation is currently being held on the proposals. Details can be found at www.vincent-gorbing.co.uk/consultation and people have until November 23 to respond.