Axminster Conservative says I’m ‘scaremongering’, but he knows that Seaton Hospital has remained in limbo ever since his colleagues ditched our beds
In a tweet responding to my Nub News article about NHS Property Services’ offering the Seaton Hospital site for housing development, Axminster Conservative candidate Ian Hall has accused me of ‘scaremongering’.
However Ian was present at County Hall three and a half years ago, when his Tory colleagues voted down our last chance to block the closure of Seaton’s beds – in the full knowledge that the CCG together with NHS Property Services, which owns all East Devon’s community hospitals, was preparing an ‘estates strategy’ to identify surplus sites to be sold off. He also knows that at the time, his Conservative government was offering incentives to NHS organisations to identify such sites.
So Ian should not be surprised that it has now emerged, via the Midweek Herald, that NHS Property Services offered our site for development and that this offer is even now being presented to EDDC’s Strategic Planning Committee as one of the options for meeting the excessive house-building targets which his Government has, on top of everything, imposed on East Devon.
Ian may not be worried that NHS PS were also offering up a quarter of the Axminster site, but I expect many of the people of Axminster, who like us in Seaton actually paid for their hospital, will have different ideas – and may well turn to Independent candidate Paul Hayward, who will actually stick up for them, instead.
in Seaton, where NHS PS put up half the site, everyone understands that if 14 houses are built, the Hospital will no longer exist. As I made clear in my article, there is no specific closure proposal. But the information confirms that we have been right all along to be alarmed. Perhaps if there is no scare, NHS Property Services will officially take the offer off the table?
Ian is right of course that we need to cooperate in a health plan for the Axe Valley, also involving Lyme Regis, with both Axminster and Seaton hospitals. But the Triangular Health Forum he mentions has hardly got off the ground despite years of intermittent talk. Meanwhile, until the vaccination programme, Seaton Hospital remained in limbo, almost half empty, still all too ripe for the asset-strippers.