The sale of a Suffolk town's former hospital to fund new 'fit-for-purpose' health services has been described as a 'missed opportunity' by an underwhelmed councillor.

Halesworth town councillor David Fosdike spoke of his 'disappointment,' feeling that 'maximum value' had not been obtained from the sale of the Patrick Stead Hospital site in Bungay Road for £550,250 for housing development.

Mr Fosdike believed the hospital should have been repurposed 'to support health and wellbeing in the town' instead of becoming six townhouses.

READ MORE: Halesworth disused hospital set for sale after no community buyer found

In June, East Suffolk Council granted Western House Developments permission to convert the hospital into the townhouses, with a development of one detached new build and two semi-detached new builds.

Money from the sale was used to fund a £1m refurbishment of the adjoining Rayner Green Centre with the aim to provide a 'modern, fit-for-purpose health centre,' offering services previously provided at the hospital.

But Mr Fosdike said: "It is a missed opportunity for Halesworth and the building and site can never be replicated with the adjoining facilities so close by.

READ MORE: Town's former hospital could be converted into six townhouses

"Many people were in outcry when the beds were shut and the hospital subsequently closed.

"Halesworth residents were promised fit for purpose healthcare facilities from the sale of Patrick Stead with maximum value from the sale of the hospital being redeveloped as housing.

"Clearly this wasn’t the case and Halesworth has suffered as a result.

"The building could have served much more benefit at that price being repurposed to support health and wellbeing in the town."

READ MORE: Halesworth news

The hospital, named after maltings businessman Patrick Stead, opened on September 6, 1882 and closed in November 2015.

The sale was arranged through NHS Property Services (NHSPS), which manages, maintains and improves NHS properties and facilities.

An NHSPS spokesperson said: “NHSPS has an obligation to use its properties for healthcare use and generate best value from any sale or income.

"Our team has a track record of securing best value for the NHS when surplus sites are disposed, securing £115.6m nationally over the past three years for re-investment back into NHS services.  

"The closure and sale of the Patrick Stead Hospital in Halesworth enabled a £1m refurbishment project to be completed at the nearby Rayner Green facility, transforming the site into a modern, fit-for-purpose health centre.

“The facility now provides a safe and accessible healthcare setting for local people, providing phlebotomy, podiatry and physiotherapy services.

"Patients are benefiting from services being delivered at one easily accessible, brand new hub, with upgraded parking and ground floor access, transforming local healthcare delivery and demonstrating our commitment to providing health services in Halesworth for local people.”

READ MORE: Suffolk news