The future of a derelict hospital building in Thetford town centre is under the spotlight after nearly 2,000 people signed a petition calling for it to be restored and brought back to life.
It follows a full meeting of Breckland Council last week at which councillors unanimously recommended that talks with the current owner of Cottage Hospital on Earls’ Street, should continue.
Cottage Hospital was originally built in the late 1800s, but has lain empty since 2006.
Local people say it is both an eyesore and a hazard, and the petition, started lasted November by town councillor Mike Brindle, was presented to the full council meeting last week.
“I am delighted that Breckland Council has agreed to continue talking to the owners to bring this building back into use, either through its sale or redevelopment,” said Cllr Brindle.
“We collected names both by hand and online and people were only too happy to sign, with many sharing their fond memories of this building.
“It is a prime town centre location but at the moment, just an eyesore and a hazard.
“People would like to see the existing building being restored so that it could once again become a feature of the town, rather than a burden.”
Cottage Hospital is a Victorian building which was donated to people of the town by the Fison Family and William Gentry. It was one of the first hsopitals in the country to have an x-ray machine. It was used as hospital by the NHS until 2006 when the service relocated to the Healthy Living Centre on Croxton Road.
A spokesperson for Breckland Council said: “Officers from the council’s planning and housing teams recently met with the owners of the former cottage hospital site to discuss whether it could be brought back into positive use.
“The owners are currently looking at a number of opportunities to redevelop the site and our officers will continue to offer advice and support while they develop their plans.”