NHS trust under fire over ‘cheeky’ letter to Spalding residents

Coun Pete Williams looks at the overgrown former Welland Hospital site. SG011016-171TW
Coun Pete Williams looks at the overgrown former Welland Hospital site. SG011016-171TW
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NHS bosses are under fire for instructing lawyers to warn residents to cut back boundary hedges and not to trespass on the former Welland Hospital site.

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?

“The real problems are the NHS not treating that site with any kind of respect or due diligence and they have no respect for the neighbours and the people living around it.”

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.

“We are working with South Holland District Council to discuss options for the sale and future development of the site, but as yet no planning applications have been submitted.”

Millhouse Group is seeking planning consent for an 88-bed care home and two blocks of apartments for people aged 55 or more on the former Jewson’s site in Roman Bank.

The land is opposite the Welland Hospital site but a planning notice on Roman Bank sparked residents’ hopes that the Welland was about to be developed and that would bring an end to their troubles with anti-social behaviour.

Mr Phillips said he would like to see ‘old folks homes’ on the Welland and believes it would be an ideal use for the land.

The development on the Jewson’s land would see a “self-contained” care home with en suite bedrooms, shops, hairdressers, library, lounge spaces and a riverside dining space.

The applicants say a separate commercial space could be used for a chantry or cafe and a new river taxi dock is planned alongside.

One apartment block will have 18 bedrooms while the second has 12.

Architects for Millhouse Group say: “The core principle of the project is place making, which aims to improve the quality of life for people who live and work in Spalding. A key element of place making is to ensure that the former site maintains the character and identity of the area but also adds to it by introducing a distinctive architectural intervention.”

• What do you think? Email your views to spaldingeditor@jpress.co.uk, tweet @LincsFreePress or comment on the story at spaldingtoday.co.uk or facebook.comLFPandSG

Previously ...

Is there a plan ahead for old Welland Hospital site?

Homeless man bids fond farewell to his Spalding ‘home under the stars’

No signs of progress on eyesores

Spalding former hospital to be demolished

Bulldozers’ surgery at Welland Hospital site