VOLUNTEERS are refusing to hand over the keys for the Frank James Memorial Hospital site to the owners until they agree a date for development work to begin.

The Friends of Frank James have been looking after the site for the last five years and planned to hand over the keys at a celebration event this weekend.

The event is still going ahead to honour all their hard work but volunteers want to know when work to create 17 flats on the East Cowes site, some within the hospital building and some to the side of it, will actually take place as site owners said it would begin in October last year. 

Planning permission to convert the hospital was first granted 15 years ago and the site has fallen victim to break ins and vandalism during that time.

Tanja Rebel, a member of the Friends of Frank James, said: "Until I get clear assurances from the owners that the work will commence very soon, including a certain date, and they are going to take care of the trees or warn us at least two weeks in advance if any of them need to be re-planted, I will not hand over the keys."

The event will include refreshments and a display of the hospital’s history. 

The East Cowes event coincides with the #ourNHS protest in London, which sees the IW branch of Unison and Islanders travel to support the cause.

Under a banner of 'no cuts, no closures, no privatisation’, it has been organised in protest to NHS and social care cuts.

Anyone unable to attend the national demonstration is welcome to join the East Cowes gathering.

Reporter: joannah@iwcpmail.co.uk