Petition calling for historic Bell Tower to be saved is tabled

A petition with nearly 700 signatures calling for Berwick Infirmary's Bell Tower to be saved has been handed over.

Friday, 14th October 2016, 7:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 6:11 pm
Berwick Infirmary.

The petition was started by Cllr Hazel Bettison after it emerged the Victorian frontage is not part of Northumbria Healthcare’s plans for the hospital.

Instead, it envisages demolishing the building to make way for a landscaped entrance to a rebuilt hospital.

Cllr Bettison handed over the petition when she and several town councillors met representatives from Northumbria Healthcare to discuss the plans.

She said: “Northumbria Healthcare has said it will take the petition back to the board.

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“We discussed the possibility of them utlising the Bell Tower themselves or for a developer to come in, or perhaps retaining part of it.

“Whatever the outcome, I want to make it clear that this campaign will mean no delay for the hospital plans. It’s on a part of the site which is earmarked for flower beds. They would be knocking down other parts of the hospital first.”

She believes there is an opportunity for the Bell Tower to be included in the new plans, as happened at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle where the historic frontage was worked into the design.

Cllr Gordon McLean added: “We don’t want any hold-ups. It’s important the development carries on, regardless of the Bell Tower.”

Cllr Joe Lang emphasised that they were not calling for additional expenditure on the building.

The £25million scheme to rebuild the hospital is on temporary hold following a request by NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group which wants to ensure the plans are fit for the future.

The issue is to be discussed by Northumberland County Council at the November meeting of its north area committee.