Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt asked to intervene over Ludlow Hospital lease

Ludlow MP Philip Dunne has asked Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to intervene to secure a lease for the town's hospital.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt asked to intervene over Ludlow Hospital lease

He wants the Government to step in and ensure the lease is signed on Ludlow Hospital amid fears for the site's future. Negotiations have been taking place over a lease for a number of years without an agreement.

Mr Dunne was asked to write the letter to the Department of Health by the League of Friends of Ludlow Hospital, which says the current lease terms proposed by national body NHS Property Services Ltd would hurt the hospital as it would cost too much to run facilities there in the future.

Ludlow Community Hospital

Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust, which runs the main hospital services at Gravel Hill, says the 25-year lease is on the verge of being signed, but a final agreement has not yet materialised.

It had been hoped the lease would be signed when terms were agreed a year ago.

Phillip Dunne MP

Mr Dunne said: "I have written to the Department of Health to see if I could get NHS Property Services to surrender the lease and restore it to Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust.

"I can't say what the outcome will be but I think we need to get it resolved and put it to bed. I don't know why talks stalled but I know they are now in active discussion again so there is a window of opportunity to get it restored."

The lease has been sought since plans for a new multi-million pound hospital at the town's eco park fell through in 2013.

Peter Corfield, chairman of the League of Friends group, said: "When the new hospital at the eco park was approved the existing site was to be declared redundant.

"But when they cancelled the new hospital project, in my view the freehold should have just returned to the existing site."

Mr Corfield said sticking points with the proposed terms of the lease included a hike in rent and a loss of control over buildings.

He said: "This immediately puts us in a very bad position when it comes to applying for funding."

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