Special status for under-threat hospital

AN UNDER-threat hospital in a Suffolk coastal town has received a timely birthday present ahead of its 80th anniversary.The Bartlet in Felixstowe, which was opened on this day in 1926, was yesterday officially granted Grade II* listed status by English Heritage.

AN UNDER-threat hospital in a Suffolk coastal town has received a timely birthday present ahead of its 80th anniversary.

The Bartlet in Felixstowe, which was opened on this day in 1926, was yesterday officially granted Grade II* listed status by English Heritage.

Part of the reason for the ruling was the discovery of Martello Tower R, which dates back to the 1800s, on top of which the former convalescent home has been built.

Although visible within the hospital English Heritage only realised it was there after Suffolk East Primary Care Trusts (PCT) invited the body to expect the site.


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The PCT wants to sell the Bartlet to pay off massive debts.

Ann Rodwell, the new Felixstowe mayor, said: “This is very good news. We desperately want to hang on to the Bartlet, as we do the General Hospital, and if it can be proved that it shouldn't be sold then hopefully we may be able to rescue it.”

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Tony Calladine from English Heritage's designation team, said: “The early 19th Century Martello tower has unique qualities including the rare survival of the dry moat and the Bartlet Hospital is also of high architectural quality.

“We look forward to working with Suffolk East PCTs in the future to advise on the management of the site in light of its new protected status.”

The construction of the hospital, which was opened by Lord Woodbridge on May 20 1926, was funded by Dr John Henry Bartlet who bequeathed practically the whole of his fortune to provide an institution where the patients of the East Suffolk and Ipswich Hospital could complete their cure.

It is now proposed for closure and sale as part of the PCT's policy for improving community services but these plans are currently awaiting approval from the secretary of state for health.

The main purpose of listing is to ensure care will be taken over decisions affecting the hospital and any alterations or redevelopment proposals respect the character and interest of the building - it does not mean the site should be preserved intact for all time.

Martin Royal, the programme director for the PCT, said: “As owners of the site we take our responsibility for protecting its environmental and heritage value very seriously and this is why we invited English Heritage to consider the hospital for possible listing.

“We are very conscious the building is important and the listing status will enhance and protect the site for the future.

“Following discussions with English Heritage we do not believe that listing will affect our proposal to sell the hospital, which of course is subject to the outcome of the referral to the secretary of state.”

A procession to mark the 80th anniversary of the Bartlet will meet at the Herman de Stern building near the market tomorrow at 2.45pm.

It will move along the Prom to the hut just below the hospital where a birthday tea will be served.

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