West Suffolk Hospital trust buys one of Suffolk’s most expensive houses as option for relocation
PUBLISHED: 11:01 22 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:34 23 October 2020
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The trust that runs West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds has bought a multi-million-pound manor house with 70 acres of land as an option for its new site.
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (WSFT) has confirmed it has completed the purchase of eight-bedroom Hardwick Manor, which is next to the existing hospital grounds.
The property was listed over the summer with a guide price of £3.5million, making it one of the most expensive houses on the market in Suffolk this year.
Hardwick Manor, the current West Suffolk Hospital and Hardwick Heath parkland are all sited in the grounds of the now-demolished Hardwick House, which was owned by the Cullum family.
MORE: West Suffolk Hospital to be rebuilt under controversial government pledge
The manor house and its grounds are among four sites currently being considered as potential future locations for a new West Suffolk Hospital, which will be rebuilt as part of the government’s pledge to provide 40 new hospitals by 2030.
The trust won’t disclose the purchase price of Hardwick Manor or the details of the other three sites at present, saying it could damage their ability to negotiate in either buying or selling the sites.
It is understood that if Hardwick Manor was picked as the preferred site, the manor would be kept and if it was not chosen, the trust would likely sell it on.
MORE: New West Suffolk Hospital preferred site to be finalised in November
Stephen Dunn, WSFT’s chief executive, said: “It is well-known that our hospital was among thousands of buildings constructed in the 1970s using reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) planks.
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“As a result, we have had to carry out an extensive programme of inspections and running repairs at our current site to ensure the safety of patients and staff.
“We have been open and transparent about the structural challenges our current site poses, and our desire to move to a new, purpose-built location as soon as possible.
“However, it was prudent to purchase the site when it became available in order to keep all our options fully open.”
The trust said existing hospital buildings in Hardwick Lane were built in 1974 and have already long exceeded their intended 30-year life span.
Despite investment in their upkeep over recent years, the time will soon come when they are no longer fit-for-purpose, WSFT said.
Dr Dunn added: “Whichever location we settle upon for our new build will be subject to the usual rigorous planning and public consultation processes.
“I want to reassure our local community that we are committed to engaging with as many of them as possible in our plans for the new hospital.
“We want to ensure the what we provide is a perfect fit for the current and future health needs of the people of west Suffolk.”
West Suffolk Hospital will receive some of the £3.7billion set aside by the government to fund the projects.
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