Transformation of old Southwold Hospital into community hub given green light
- Credit: Nick Butcher
A proposal that would see a former hospital turned into an exciting community, residential and business space has been unanimously approved.
Waveney District Council's planning committee gathered this evening to discuss and subsequently give the go-ahead to the redevelopment of the old Southwold and District Hospital, which closed in November 2015.
The scheme will see the creation of a community cafe, creche, small business centre, a potential new site for Southwold Library and nine housing units, five of which will be affordable homes and four of them market properties.
Leading the charge behind the campaign and the planning process for more than 18 months has been SouthGen (Southwold and Waveney Valley Regeneration Society Ltd), a community benefit society looking to put the site firmly back into the hands of local people.
SouthGen's campaigning and fundraising arm, Save Our Southwold, has also played a highly significant role in generating masses of community support.
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In reaction to the application's approval, SouthGen and Save Our Southwold chairman Laurence Vulliamy said: 'We are personally absolutely delighted and also delighted on behalf of the entire Southwold community; this is a really great outcome.
'The community really was behind us from the very start of this campaign and, what with the loss of various facilities in Southwold over the last few decades, this is exactly what the town needs.'
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Will Windell, chairman of Southwold Town Council's Planning and Development Committee, added: 'This is a huge relief after nearly two years of extremely hard work, several public meetings and consultations, as well as three applications - it's very exciting!
'The key to this development is that it has a real emphasis on community, as has been shown by our engagement with hundreds of people.'
More to follow.