Former Norfolk hospital ‘eyesore’ given go-ahead to become homes
PUBLISHED: 15:57 03 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:06 03 January 2020
A former Norfolk hospital which has been described as a “health hazard” and an “eyesore” will become housing.
The former Cottage Hospital, in Earls' Street, Thetford, has stood empty for the past 13 years since it closed in 2006.
South Norfolk Developments applied to Breckland Council to knock down the Victorian building, which has been vandalised over the years, and build nine homes.
Included in the work is space for the adjacent Groves Lane doctors surgery to create 14 car parking spaces. It is believed that the surgery can then build an extension over a section of its current car park.
Dennis Bacon, CEO of South Norfolk Developments, used to drive past the hospital for a number of years and said it became on "eyesore" in the town.
He said: "We are really excited about it.
"There was very little local opposition and I think they realised Earls' Street needs to be regenerated.
"With the hospital and the former snooker hall both derelict it was becoming a real eyesore in the town."
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Mr Bacon revealed that drug paraphernalia, needles, and human excrement needs to be removed from the site because of previous squatting.
Plans had been lodged by Tang and Associates Ltd that wanted to create a three-storey block of flats.
This application was removed as the developers were told it would not be viable and the site was sold to South Norfolk Developments.
Mr Bacon added: "We are half-way through the old snooker hall development and we are going to be over budget on both but we want them to be something Thetford is proud of.
"It's been a long road but we are very optimistic and we believe it will set new standards of redevelopment in Thetford.
"I'm a big fan of Thetford, it's a town with huge potential which is not maximised."
In June 2016 a blaze started at the empty building which prompted neighbours to call for something to be done with the site.
Neighbours complained it had become a danger, with one saying the fire was "an accident waiting to happen".
Despite being situated next to listed properties the hospital site is not protected.