Concerns were raised this morning as a demolition crew descended on Shires House at Bedford Hospital ‘North Wing’ and started to pull down parts of the building.
However, NHS Property Services have told the Bedford Independent that this work is just to remove loose brickwork on upper floors to make the building safe.
This will then allow barriers to be pushed back so access to the rest of the Health Village and the neighbouring Bedford Blues ground can be restored.
A spokesperson for NHS Property Services said: “Our focus right now, is to ensure Shires House is safe and stable. In order to ensure a safe access route for Ambulances, contractors are removing part of the rear elevation, adjacent to the chapel.
This decision was approved by the conservation officer. It is important to note that this is a safety measure and not part of a wider decision about the future of Shires House.”
Bedford Rugby club, whose Hospital Gate Entrance has been closed intermittently since the fire, have said they’re working out a plan with NHS Property Services so there is full access for the match against Ealing Trailfinders tomorrow.
Meanwhile, NHS Property Services say it may be some time before we know the full extent of the damage from the overnight fire on 3/4 January, adding: “We will be continuing to work with Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, as part of a wider review on the future development of health services across Bedfordshire”
Bedfordshire Police have also launched a witness appeal saying they suspect the fire was arson.