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Parking and traffic concerns for residents at public consultation for new West Suffolk Hospital site

Ongoing concerns over parking and traffic were the main topic of conversation at a public consultation on plans for the new multi-million pound West Suffolk Hospital site.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust revealed its preference for the 70-acre site in Hardwick Manor, Bury St Edmunds, in December last year after a list of 20 was whittled down to four.

Stephen Dunn, Trust chief executive, has said he wants the plans for the new site to be 'co-produced' with the public.

Aerial view of Hardwick Manor, Bury St Edmunds and part of its grounds.
Aerial view of Hardwick Manor, Bury St Edmunds and part of its grounds.

As part of that approach, a number of public consultations are being held across Suffolk.

At a meeting at The Athenaeum, in Bury St Edmunds, yesterday, most residents shared concerns over how building the new hospital on the Hardwick Manor site would affect traffic and parking.

One resident, who considered Westley to be a better location for the new hospital site, said: "I fail to see how they can stop the amount of traffic.

"If you go through that road at three o'clock you are stuck.

"It's the school as well."

Another resident shared the same thoughts and said Rougham Airfield would be their preferred site.

"Thinking about patient parking, that's not convenient as it is and there's not a lot of room as it is," they said.

They added: "Hopefully there will be a plan for hospital staff to park."

Another resident, who lives nearby to Hardwick Lane, said: "It's the access I'm worried about.

"How are they going to get the people in and out of the hospital."

However, one couple, Christine and David Dutton, who live nearby to Hardwick Lane, said they thought the plans were a good idea.

"They will be able to keep the modern buildings and keep the car park," they said.

They added: "Wherever you put it there's going to be traffic.

"When you are looking at all the four sites together, it's the best one."

Three more public consultations on the new hospital site plans are to be held, including on:

- July 19, at Memorial Hall, High Street, Newmarket.

- July 20, at the Assembly Room at Sudbury Town Hall, Sudbury.

- July 21, at the Milton Room at Stowmarket Community Centre, Stowmarket.

Stephen Dunn said: "This is an exciting opportunity for you to share your thoughts.

"Hardwick Manor was chosen as our preferred site using a thorough and objective evaluation process, but this decision isn't final until we have completed all our investigations and received planning permission.

"We consider Hardwick Manor to have a number of benefits, including the fact that we already own the site.

"It’s next to where the existing hospital is so we can continue to use our newer buildings - such as staff accommodation at the rear of the site and our office building, Quince House.

"Building the new healthcare facility on Hardwick Manor also means we can continue to be co-located with organisations such as Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, St. Nicholas Hospice and Busy Bees nursery."

"However, we want to make sure we get this decision right and that everyone's views and thoughts are considered.

"That is why, whilst technical work is progressing to continue to assess the suitability of the site, we are committed to continuing to work with staff, the local community and patients of West Suffolk Hospital to ensure we listen to as many opinions as possible.

"Please do share your views by going to one of our planned events in person, online or by visiting our website and completing the online feedback form.

"The views of our staff, patients and community are important to our Trust.

"We have been engaging with you, the local community, taking on board your useful comments and views, and your concerns.

"It is paramount that everyone who wishes to can be involved in this exciting project and have their say."

For more information on the consultation process, go to: https://www.wsh.nhs.uk/News-room/news-posts/Get-involved-and-share-your-views.aspx

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