Hospital sites may be turned into housing

Sudbury’s two hospitals could be turned into housing if outline plans revealed for the much-loved buildings come to fruition.

West Suffolk Foundation NHS Trust has drawn up proposals to create 44 new homes at Walnuttree Hospital and 11 at St Leonard’s Hospital.

The plans, which are still in their early stages, will see the main body of the historical buildings – Walnuttree was opened as a Victorian workhouse in 1837 – retained.

A public exhibition displaying images and details of the projects took place in Sudbury earlier this month and Peter Clifford, chairman of the town’s Watch group (Working and Acting Together for Community Health), said there had been a good reaction to the initial plans.

“The interested parties requested that the main spine of the buildings was retained and architects have followed that,” he said.

“Overall, people seem pleased with the designs so far and it is important the essential features are kept. It is good to see that the buildings will be used properly.”

Under the proposals, Walnuttree will be transformed into 36 flats, with part of the building being knocked down and three-storey houses built. Courtyards and parking for 28 cars would also be created.

At St Leonard’s in Newton Road, two options have been put forward. The first would see the majority of the building kept and converted into homes, while the other would involve demolishing the building and creating a 38-unit sheltered housing development.

Sudbury mayor Jack Owen said he wanted the historical parts of both hospitals to be kept, but believed the schemes could result in traffic problems in the town.

A spokesman for West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “We will look in detail at the feedback we received in consultation and will use it to influence our final proposals for both sites before we submit formal planning applications to Babergh District Council next year.”