Future looks ‘healthy’ for old hospital

The former Johnson Hospital, Spalding.
The former Johnson Hospital, Spalding.
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A RUN-down former hospital building in the heart of Spalding is to be brought back to life to provide healthcare services to the town.

A RUN-down former hospital building in the heart of Spalding is to be brought back to life to provide healthcare services to the town.

Almost a year after the old Johnson Hospital was sold, the company which now owns it has revealed it plans to bring it back into use for the community – easing fears that a town centre landmark would be lost for good.

Talks are ongoing as to what kind of facility it will be but the new owners have promised to restore as many of the building’s original features as possible as they aim to provide health services at the hospital once again.

Terry McGuire, who is acting as agent for owners Dryden Ltd, said: “We are having a few problems. The trustees who own the building want it to be taken back to as much of a health care provider as it was before.

“They have had a number of ideas and a lot of research has been done in the local community about what the community need.

“That is ongoing work.”

Mr McGuire said discussions had taken place with the Primary Care Trust (PCT) but because of changes within the NHS, it was making the process “awkward”.

“Because no one knows what jobs there will be or how the NHS will run in the future, we’re having quite a few delays in that,” he said.

“It will definitely be in health care but in what guise I cannot say.”

Before its sale, fears had been raised over the iconic building’s future. The hospital in Priory Road is due to reach its 130th anniversary on October 12.

Community group Our Heritage had been among those bidding during its sale, with plans to transform it into a centre for local history and culture.

However, sale contracts were finally signed between United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Dryden Ltd at the end of last October and workmen have been seen regularly clearing the site since then, which Mr McGuire says has been to clean it up.

He said: “It’s very much a work in progress because of the amount of vandalism done to it.

“We had a lot of copper and metal pipes stolen from it and broken windows. We are getting on top of it now. “People were still trying to break in until quite recently and we’ve had quite a problem with people sitting and drinking in there.”

Mr McGuire had previously indicated future uses could be linked to the company’s recently approved plans for a secure residential school for children on Hulls Drove, Crowland.

The town’s other former hospital, the Welland, is due for demolition next month.