Vandals threaten future of GP surgery
A VILLAGE could lose its vital doctor's surgery if yobs continue to target the site with acts of petty vandalism and arson, officials have warned.The caution comes after vandals in Nayland, near Sudbury, deliberately set fire to a wheelie bin, with flames then spreading to the neighbouring surgery's roof.
A VILLAGE could lose its vital doctor's surgery if yobs continue to target the site with acts of petty vandalism and arson, officials have warned.
The caution comes after vandals in Nayland, near Sudbury, deliberately set fire to a wheelie bin, with flames then spreading to the neighbouring surgery's roof.
Grateful staff at the Bear Street site now say the building was only saved due to the prompt actions of local retained firefighters - but warned any repeats in the future could see the facility lost to the village.
The incident, which happened on Thursday, is the latest in a spate of problems which have plagued Nayland Surgery - and has prompted Carole Baldwin, practice manager, to urge parents to ensure their children are kept under control.
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“The fire service said if it had been left another ten minutes, we would have lost the building,” she said. “If that happens then it is possible it would not be rebuilt and the village could lose the surgery.
“Nayland relies on its doctors and dispensary, especially when the weather is as bad as it has been recently.
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“Had the fire service been called ten minutes later, we would be looking at 12 months or two years or never before the surgery could be rebuilt.”
A patient who works as a taxi driver noticed the flames as he passed the Bear Street site at around 7.15pm.
Retained crews from the village then rushed to the scene - and managed to prevent the fire from spreading.
“We were lucky, and have Nayland's volunteer fire crews to thank, who were here within ten minutes and saved the building,” added Mrs Baldwin.
“The roof was just beginning to catch when they arrived. There has been some damage to the waiting room, which is out of action at the moment, and we have lost five windows, all of which will need replacing.
“We think it was deliberate, as we have had some vandalism at the surgery before when youngsters have tried putting lighted paper through the letterbox and spread shredded things from the bin all around.”
Damage to the surgery was largely external - but Mrs Baldwin said it could take some months to fully repair.
And she appealed to any residents with information about the arson attack to contact police.
A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the blaze was thought to have been started deliberately, while police asked anyone with information to contact them on 01473 613500.