JUST when it seemed that the Lambert Hospital saga had reached its conclusion, out comes the shock news that the council has been successful in securing the building for the community.

It is fantastic news for Thirsk and praise must go to all the councillors, campaigners and the local MP who instigated this extraordinary twist in the tale.

Politicians and councillors are always easy targets when things go wrong but this is one of those rare instances where residents of all political persuasions can rejoice.

However it is a shame that a covenant will prevent the building from being used as a GP surgery.

Thirsk doctors have been vocal in pointing out the town’s desperate need for more provision.

NHS Property Services have previously explained that the covenant “protects the benefits and efficiencies that the local NHS has delivered” and said that moving local health services back into the Lambert risks creating costly empty space somewhere else.

That may be as well, but for many a lay person not au fait with NHS-speak, it seems hard to understand why a once functioning hospital cannot be put to use as a much-needed doctor’s surgery.

Alas, now is not the time to dwell on what could have been, for whatever new purpose the Lambert serves, at least it will be serving it for the community and not for private developers.

That would surely be welcomed by Mrs Lambert of Sowerby who bequeathed the building to the people of Thirsk back in 1849 when one imagines red tape had not yet been invented.