NHS trust stirs up hornet’s nest over its ‘cheek’

Coun Pete Williams surveys the overgrown hospital site after NHS bosses asked residents to cut their hedges. SG011016-171TW
Coun Pete Williams surveys the overgrown hospital site after NHS bosses asked residents to cut their hedges. SG011016-171TW

The site in Roman Bank, Spalding

The hospital in Roman Bank, Spalding, was abandoned in 2008 when Johnson Community Hospital opened and nearby residents say they have endured a catalogue of troubles ever since.

Crown Drive resident Phil Phillips recalled metal thieves, drug users, vandals and arsonists moved in once the NHS moved out.

Mr Phillips said: “It got to the point that I considered putting Spalding police on my speed dial.”

He said a security fence wasn’t installed until after United Lincolnshire NHS Hospitals Trust (ULHT) demolished “a perfectly sound building” but, after the site was left “secure”, it was used by dog walkers, picnickers and an influx of campers.

Mr Phillips said a section of the boundary fence fell down, giving a clear view of a camper defecating and urinating.

He told lawyers DAC Beachcroft Ltd the trust “sending legal correspondence is laughable in the extreme considering the lack of action or concern to their neighbours on Crown Drive, Roman Bank and Holbeach Road” and the trust had “stirred up a hornet’s nest”.

The lawyers’ letter refers to a large beech hedge encroaching onto hospital land and says the trust will cut it back unless the residents do so. But Mr Phillips says brambles on trust land adjoining his garden are 14ft high.

Spalding councillor Pete Williams has campaigned to get rubbish cleared from the site and says the NHS letter to residents is “cheeky”.

He said: “Who pays these people to write these letters instead of cleaning up the blooming mess?”

ULHT director of estates Paul Boocock said: “We acknowledge that the former Welland hospital site has caused a nuisance to our neighbours, as it has been vulnerable to vandalism. We have made every effort to keep this to a minimum, including fencing off part of the site with plans for more, working with environmental health and planning work to tidy up the site in the coming weeks.”

The trust is working with South Holland District Council to discuss options for the sale and future development of the site but has not submitted a planning application.

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