“Here is my letter, about Ottery Hospital, which was published in the Sidmouth Herald about ten days ago [from Ottery Hospital campaigner Philip Algar]:
Last August, I asked the Ottery Town Council to request the East Devon District Council to declare the Ottery Hospital to be an asset of community value. Such a designation would have delayed any decision by NHS Properties to sell the hospital.
The request was rejected by EDDC because the hospital was not a community asset.
Unlike swimming pools and pubs, it did not contribute to “social wellbeing”! This is manifest nonsense but there is a more disturbing aspect to this EDDC decision which challenges common sense and justice.
Apparently, there is no precise definition of social wellbeing so any determination must be subjective. This is demonstrated by the fact that three district councils in Devon have granted the status to hospitals in their areas.
This raises some serious questions.
What was different about the request to give the Ottery hospital this designation? EDDC admit that they gave more weight to an NHS objection than they did to the wishes of the people of Ottery and district whom they are supposed to represent.
Why did NHS Properties oppose this proposal whilst other councils granted the desired status to hospitals serving their electors? Who should we blame for having our hospital treated in this way? Is it EDDC for cravenly giving in to the NHS or should it be the NHS itself which may plan to close the hospital entirely and sell the site and so opposes any action that could delay implementing such a decision?”