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Decision time for Christchurch health hub plans
MAJOR plans to create an extensive health hub at Christchurch Hospital have been recommended for approval.
The multi-million pound scheme, which includes the creation of an 80-bed care home, 40 senior living apartments for the over-55s and 81 key worker houses, is due to go before councillors at Christchurch Borough Council tomorrow.
Part of the proposals also include a new GP practice and pharmacy, with the plans aiming to secure services such as the Macmillan Unit, bloods unit, X-ray and imaging departments as well as outpatients at the hospital, which has been the subject of closure fears from the community over the past few years.
The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Found-ation Trust, who have submitted the plans, believe they will secure the future of the hospital, where half the hospital buildings are now vacant.
Some concerned Christchurch residents and local historians believe the historic H block and G block, former workhouse infirmaries, should be protected from potential demolition as their loss will damage the conservation area.
But while officers acknowledge the loss of the imposing H Block building will have an impact on the character of the conservation area, they believe the benefits of the development on the wider community outweigh the harm.
Fifty-three letters of objection have been received regarding the overall scheme with 475 people writing in support of the plans and the retention of services.
The trust held a consultation in September when it unveiled the ambitious plans to the public.
And although the plans were greeted with broad support, some aspects including the size of the new buildings have been reduced to make them more sympathetic to the hospital’s setting.
If the application is successful, building work will be broken down into seven different phases that will take two years to complete.