Reprieve for former hospital building

A controversial scheme to knock down a former cottage hospital has been stopped in its tracks after councillors went against their officers' advice and voted to save the Victorian building.

A controversial scheme to knock down a former cottage hospital has been stopped in its tracks after councillors went against their officers' advice and voted to save the Victorian building.

Norfolk Primary Care Trust wanted to demolish Thetford Cottage Hospital and redevelop the site into 14 two and three-bedroom terrace homes after the site was made redundant about 20 months ago.

But the bid met with opposition from townspeople because it was seen as part of their personal and built heritage; the hospital was donated to the town then run for at least 50 years with private cash.

At a meeting of Breckland Council's planning committee yesterday, council bosses heard both sides of the argument before finally voting to save the building in Earls Street, minus some modern extensions added in the 1960s.


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Councillor Bill Borrett said: “Time and time again we see buildings people regard as part of their social history lost. We should let them demolish the modern extensions to the building and covert the old hospital into flats and build new homes at the back of the site.”

Councillor Terry Lamb said he understood a dentist had been interested in using the building for a new practice and that this should be explored to keep the building in community use.

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The building became redundant about 20 months ago after health workers and their patients moved to a new £4.5m healthy living centre on the edge of the town.

Attempts to sell the building as it was had failed, the committee heard. However, a bid to redevelop the site had been fought by Thetford Town Council and Thetford Society and a petition of more than 250 signatures had been raised.

Other objections to the housing scheme included worries about parking and noise disturbance.

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