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NHS loses almost £200,000 on sale of old farm

PUBLISHED: 07:30 30 March 2019

Paper Mill Farm went under the hammer for a loss Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Paper Mill Farm went under the hammer for a loss Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

A farm in Bramford bought by the NHS almost ten years ago has been sold for a £190,000 loss at auction.

The Evening Star front page in August 2009 when news broke of the site's purchaseThe Evening Star front page in August 2009 when news broke of the site's purchase

Paper Mill Farm was bought for £475,000 in 2009 by Suffolk’s now defunct primary care trust (PCT).

The controversial purchase was intended to become a car park for staff working for the PCT in Bramford but when it was disbanded in 2013 the site was put into the control of NHS Property Services (NHSPS).

Paper Mill Farm was never developed and has remained vacant for the past 10 years.

Earlier this month it was revealed that NHSPS had decided to put the property up for auction as it sought to dispose of surplus properties.

Paper Mill Farm sold for just £280,000 Picture: SONYA DUNCANPaper Mill Farm sold for just £280,000 Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

The site was given a guide price of just £250,000+ with the sale price including the farmhouse, outbuilding and paddock on the site.

The six acre farm was one of several properties being sold by the NHS in the auction undertaken by Allsop’s in London and in the end sold for just £285,000 - a £190,000 loss for the service.

MP for North Ipswich and Central Suffolk, Dr Dan Poulter, said that the site was “One of the most appalling wastes of taxpayers money” that he had ever come across.

Dr Poulter said he had spoken to government ministers about the site and that they had confirmed attempts had been made to acquire planning permission for housing for it which failed because of the poor quality of the land at the site.

Questions about the site's purchase were answered in September 2009Questions about the site's purchase were answered in September 2009

Whilst he believes that NHS Property Services has made the best out of a bad situation, Dr Poulter believes that there are still people who need to answer questions about the purchase of the farm.

“There are people who need to be held to account for what happened in this case,” said Dr Poulter.

A spokesperson for NHS Property Services said: “NHS Property Services has a strategy of disposing of surplus property assets so proceeds from any sale can be reinvested back into the NHS.

“NHSPS makes every endeavour to maximise the proceeds on sale, and on this occasion we were advised by a range of professional advisors as to the likely selling price.

“The price achieved reflects the market value.”

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