A petition has been launched to bring a derelict hospital back into use and stop it falling into further disrepair.
The online petition has been started by Mike Brindle of Theftford Town Council who wants to put pressure on Breckland District Council to take over the Cottage Hospital on Earls Street, Thetford, under a compulsory purchase order.
Mr Brindle, a Labour member of the council, says the building, which has lain empty for 10 years has become both an eyesore and a hazard for nearby residents and businesses.
“Breckland Council should use its powers to bring this former Cottage Hospital back into use in some way to stop the building looking such an eyesore and becoming a hazard to local people,” said councillor Brindle.
“There have already been two fires there this year and the state of neglect means it looks like it is in the middle of a developing forest.
“It is just 100 yards from the Post Office on the main street, in a residential area between a snooker hall and a church and a lot of people have to encounter this eyesore every day. There are also concerns about rats and pests at the building.
“The council have the power to compulsorily purchase the building if its current owners are unprepared to bring it back into use, and should do so as quickly as possible.”
The building, which is currently privately owned was formerly used as a hospital by the NHS before the service was relocated to the Healthy Living Centre on Croxton Road, in 2006.
It has been in private ownership since 2010.
More than 200 people have signed the petition which can be found at: www.petitionbuzz.com/petitions/thetfordcottagehospital.
“It could be used for example for health care provision of some variety or as flats,” added cllr Brindle, who is also Chairman of the Thetford Society’s Environment Committee.
“Now is the time to act as the whole site is an absolute eyesore and does not help our efforts to improve Thetford’s image.”
A spokesperson for Breckland Council said: “Breckland Council has not been asked to consider using a Compulsory Purchase Order to take over ownership of the former cottage hospital in Thetford. The council could give due consideration to such a request, but would need to be presented with a strong case that indicates this action would bring significant benefits to the public, could justify the use of taxpayers’ money, and be incorporated into the council’s asset ownership strategy.”