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Heartbroken bidders who hoped to save hospital say purchase was ‘almost impossible’

PUBLISHED: 09:01 08 November 2018 | UPDATED: 13:01 09 November 2018

The old Lowestoft hospital.  
Picture: Nick Butcher

The old Lowestoft hospital. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2017

Both Peter Colby and Gerald Baxter hoped to separately buy the Old Hospital of Tennyson Road which was auctioned off in London last month.

The old Lowestoft hospital.  
Picture: Nick ButcherThe old Lowestoft hospital. Picture: Nick Butcher

Two bidders who hoped to save the Lowestoft Hospital said legal overage payments made the purchase “almost impossible”.

Both Peter Colby and Gerald Baxter hoped to separately buy the Old Hospital of Tennyson Road which was auctioned off in London last month.

The building sold for £475,000 to a mystery bidder on October 25 by Allsops Auction house in London.

Mr Baxter said he and a business partner hoped to transform the property into an apartment site for the elderly or disabled.

Peter Colby of Peter Colby Commercials.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYPeter Colby of Peter Colby Commercials. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Plans also included medical services involving the local community health trust.

But Mr Baxter claims he had attempted to purchase the Lowestoft Hospital since it was closed in 2016 and but had been stone-walled each time.

He said: “We have made several offers over this period to no avail - our first offer was in January 2017.”

The Lowestoft developer said he rarely received a reply to his offers and was merely told they would be kept on file.

“Three weeks ago I read in the Lowestoft Journal the hospital was to be auctioned in London with a guide price of £475,000.

“We immediately on the Friday made a new offer of almost double the guide price, plus the over flow ward,” he said.

The following week, the offer was rejected and the prospective buyers were told the site was still set to go under the hammer.

On the auction of the property, Mr Baxter said: “The people of Lowestoft have no say, what so ever, in their town whether its the roads, the bridges, public buildings, the port, the schools, the health or care. These decisions are made by faceless people hundreds of miles away.”

Mr Colby agreed with Mr Baxter and said legal overage payments and the claw-black made the purchase difficult for anyone hoping to buy it for commercial use.

“The property in my opinion would have made more money if the overage and claw back restriction had not be in place.,” he said.

Mr Colby intended to transform some of the building into houses and make some of it work as a medical centre

The businessman believes the legalities were put in place so the space could be more suited for social or low-cost housing.

In a statement, Director of Finance Mark Flynn at James Paget University Hospital said: “Following consultation with the Department of Health and Social Care, the Trust disposed of the hospital site via auction at the end of last month.

“The auction was held in public and was open to all bidders. The hospital was sold at the auction - and all proceeds raised from the sale will go towards local healthcare.”

Do you know who bought Lowestoft Hospital? Contact Greta.Levy@Archant.co.uk

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