Hospital housing plan goes on show in town

DESIGNS: An image of what the Walnuttree Hospital site could look like in the future.
DESIGNS: An image of what the Walnuttree Hospital site could look like in the future.

Future plans for two of Sudbury’s most prominent buildings will go on display today as part of a three-day exhibition.

Proposals to transform Walnuttree and St Leonard’s hospitals into housing will be on show at the town hall.

Members of the project team for the sites – owned by West Suffolk Foundation Trust – will be on hand to give details of the development, which could see 44 new homes created at the Walnuttree and 11 at St Leonard’s.

Town councillor Tony Platt said he had been “very impressed” with the plans.

“I feel the architects have been very imaginative and am pleased there is going to be a consultation,” he said.

“I believe the health trust is listening and wants the best solution in the circumstances.”

Outline plans involve converting the core of Walnuttree – which opened as a Victorian workhouse in 1837 – into 36 flats. The remainder of the building would be knocked down and three-storey houses built.

At St Leonard’s, options include the construction of 11 homes or a 38-unit sheltered housing development.

“Walnuttree has always played a significant part in the town’s history and it would be good to keep part of it,” added Mr Platt.

Early discussions about the proposals have also prompted the idea of turning the outpatient’s building at Walnuttree into a community hall with an archive room above.

Stephen Thorpe, from the Sudbury Society, said this was something he would like to see.

“In general, the society supports the conversion and is quite in favour of a community hall area,” he said. “It all seems possible as long as it stacks up financially.”

The exhibition runs from 10am to 4pm today and tomorrow, and from 9am till noon on Saturday.