HOSPITAL chiefs have gone back to the drawing board on multi-million plans for Christchurch Hospital.
Following a refusal of the £10million development scheme by Christchurch councillors, the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust said its board of directors had agreed to work with the council to find a “positive outcome”.
But it has warned that while it aims to resubmit the proposals, the board is still considering appealing the controversial decision.
Plans included the extension of the hospital buildings to include the relocated Grove Surgery, a retail pharmacy, the construction of an 80-bed care home and 36 senior living apartments as well as 81 key worker houses and flats.
Services including the Macmillan Unit, bloods unit, X-ray and imaging department as well as outpatients would have been retained.
But the trust said the retention of services was reliant on the funds generated from the nursing home and key worker housing, with funding proposed for the GP practice also lost should planning approval not be secured by March.
The scheme also included the demolition of H Block, a former workhouse infirmary, which sparked some concerns from some residents over loss of local heritage.
Now, the trust has offered to work with local heritage groups to record the history of the buildings in a public way.
This would including re-using features such as stained glass windows.
Cllr Colin Jamieson, who is the chairman of Christchurch council’s planning control committee, said: “The council continues to see the provision of modern, high quality health care facilities, particularly for the elderly, as a priority for residents of Christchurch.
“The council has worked very closely with the hospital trust over the last two years, advising them on what it would see as a suitable scheme located in what is a prominent conservation area within the town.
“The planning control committee felt that, given the importance and planned longevity of the site, the balance between the buildings was not correct.
“What was expressed by the committee was the need for a building of greater architectural merit to dominate the site with the assisted living block subservient to it, and members felt that the design put forward did not achieve this.
“Our residents have the right to expect not only high quality in health care but also high quality in architectural design in such an important location.”