At last, some encouraging news regarding the future of Walnuttree Hospital.
Following campaigning by the Sudbury Society and meetings between the civic bodies concerned and our local health trust, all views seem to have been listened to and positive action taken.
The health trust has now applied to develop the site in an imaginative way, with a most attractive scheme preserving the Victorian core of this historic building and, at the same time, ensuring that further development would be to the benefit of a sympathetic developer.
The society, while fighting to preserve the town’s built heritage, was realistic in its campaign that in order to retain what is good any developer must make a reasonable profit on its investment.
With the development of Long Melford’s Maltings in mind (an excellent example of preservation and successful development), we met with other bodies to ensure that the site was developed in like manner.
At the same time, we also agreed with St Gregory’s Church that we wished to see the existing outpatients department retained for civic use.
The church is in desperate need of a new hall, which could also be utilised by other bodies, and the town has no suitable archive centre, for which the first floor could be utilised.
The building also houses the former vagrants’ cells which could form part of a small display area depicting the history of the site from medieval college to workhouse and hospital.
The cost of the project could be met with the 106 payments that any developer has to grant to the community together with further grants and donations.
The town has nothing to lose and all to gain. The Victorian core housing apartments with enviable views, new housing overlooking the river, a church hall available for hire to other groups and an archive centre with access to all.
Our local health trust must be congratulated for listening to the views and concerns of those groups and for working with us for the future benefit of Sudbury.