LETTERS From Tanja Rebel, Cowes:
ON MONDAY, it was exactly one year since a small number of people entered the gardens of the former Frank James Hospital at East Cowes to tidy up the complete mess around the building.
We were soon joined by others from the neighbourhood, who care deeply about the building and who are outraged by the state of disrepair it has been allowed to fall into.
This is how the Friends of Frank James came to be and they have met monthly ever since.
Over the year, much of the overgrowth has been cut back while care has been taken not to infringe too much on the wildlife haven.
The gatherings have become social events too, where local people have provided the volunteers with refreshments. The MP and his partner joined us for two of the sessions and we have also been supported by Independent councillors who invited Martin Bell to come and visit the site in February.
While the gardens are now in a better condition, the building is still in disrepair.
Contact has been made with some of the owners, who, since last summer, have full planning permission to commence work but as yet nothing has happened.
Requests to the IW Council to do a compulsory purchase are met with a resounding 'no’, despite the fact at least two people with a will and a vision have shown interest in buying it and restoring it to its former glory. However, it cannot continue in this manner.
If the owners will not take responsibility, it is the duty of this council to now step in and see Frank James brought back to its former glory.
After all, this is a unique building, which was bequeathed to the people of East Cowes and which has enormous potential.
The Friends of Frank James will continue their campaign with another Big Gathering on March 24, in connection with the Sustainability Roadshow in East Cowes Town Hall between 11am and 4pm on that day.
We will hold it as an open day for people to come and see the grounds as well as a birthday party.