In The Media

Transformation of old Southwold Hospital given green light

Transformation of old Southwold Hospital given green light

“The key to this development is that it has a real emphasis on community, as has been shown by our engagement with hundreds of people.”

Hundreds of people have been attending public meetings to discuss the proposal. Picture: Nick Butcher/Archant

Will Windell, chairman of Southwold Town Council’s Planning and Development Committee, said: “This is a huge relief after nearly two years of extremely hard work, several public meetings and consultations, as well as three applications – it’s very exciting!

Read the full story on Lowestoft Journal ->

Vision to transform former hospital moves closer

Vision to transform former hospital moves closer

Our vision to transform former hospital into community building with library, crèche and café moves closer

Campaigners will discover on Tuesday night whether plans to turn a redundant hospital site into a community hub will be given the go-ahead.

NB_06_Southwold_Hospital_Redevelopment

Nick Butcher/Archant

Waveney District Council’s planning committee will discuss an application from Hastoe Housing Association, on behalf of SouthGen – Southwold and Waveney Valley Regeneration Society Ltd – for “a community led mixed use redevelopment of the former Southwold and District Hospital site”.

Read the full story on Lowestoft Journal ->

Oyez, Oyez, Oyez, Save Our Southwold!

Southwold’s new Town Crier, Mr David Burrows used his inaugural cry to invite the community to purchase shares, sold to help develop the former Southwold Hospital site for community use . . . but only if a community bid to purchase the site is successful.

David Burrows, the Town crier standing outside Southwold Town Hall

What Next

It’s now the middle of June and we are still waiting for Waveney District Council to decide what will happen to the hospital site. The Town Council had the building designated a Community Asset in February; NHS Properties Ltd appealed against that designation immediately. The Town Council then countered that appeal in the form of an exhaustive Barrister’s brief, which addressed everything the NHS claimed. Waveney District Council indicated that their decision could be made by the end of May, but Southwold is still waiting. In this case no news in good news!

The Public Meeting UPDATED

At probably the most important public meeting since 1986, when a consortium of Dutch businessmen tried to turn Southwold Town Marshes into a luxury marina, the Town and District turned out to hear how the community might save the former Southwold Hospital building from property developers.

St Edmund’s Hall was packed on 9th May, with standing room only, to hear how the hospital was built by the community for the community, and was being funded by local benefactors right up to its closure last December. The Town Council had the building designated as a ‘Community Asset’ in February and The NHS are appealing against that decision, as they want to sell the building to the highest bidder. This will inevitably result in the provision of more holiday homes.

Laurence Vulliamy, Chairman of the newly formed ‘Save Our Southwold Association’ told the meeting that Southwold already has the highest proportion of second homes in any town in the UK, at 60%, and the eldest resident population in the country. He went on to say: “The trouble is . . . the heart of the community has gone, and in the depths of winter there are no lights on because no-one’s at home!”

The meeting heard how the former hospital building might become a community hub, with a place for a new Library, units for businesses and low rent opportunities for entrepreneurs. It could accommodate training facilities for apprentices as well as a crèche, rehearsal spaces for music and drama and high quality consultation rooms. Laurence Vulliamy warned that any possible purchase of the building could only go ahead after a Feasibility Study had been carried out.

Speakers included Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams, who fully supporting the campaign and talked about the regeneration of Southwold; Cllr. Ian Bradbury described the newly completed Neighbourhood Plan. Other speakers were Alison Wheeler Chief Executive of Suffolk Libraries, Guy Mitchell owner of The Post Office and ‘Spots’ and Architect Ralph Carpenter who specialises in ‘green’ community buildings. He told the meeting to “be bold and look at the potential for change.”

The meeting then voted unanimously to go forward to the feasibility study, set to cost between £8,000 and £10,000. ‘Save Our Southwold’ will begin a fundraising campaign to raise that money, just as soon as the outcome of The NHS’s appeal is known.