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Last ditch bid to secure hospital services at Christchurch
A FINAL bid to secure hospital services at Christchurch has been launched as plans are resubmitted for the site.
Hospital chiefs have held talks with council bosses since their £10million scheme for the site at Fairmile was rejected by Christchurch councillors in January.
Now, revised plans have been submitted to council planners by the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital Trust, with calls for members and the public to get behind the plans.
Should the new plans not be approved, funding for the GP practice will be lost.
The proposals will go to the planning committee on March 14.
Councillors on the planning committee felt the 80-bed care home and plans for 36 senior living apartments and 81 keyworker flats would result in a development out of character with the area at the meeting in Janaury.
They were concerned about the bulk and mass of the buildings as well as the loss of heritage of the former workhouse infirmary buildings – H Block and G Block – which were earmarked to be demolished.
But despite concerns over the loss of heritage, the trust says H block is still earmarked for demolition.
Richard Renaut, director of service development said: “It’s a straight choice between keeping services or having empty buildings.
“H block is an unlisted building that has been empty for several years, as it is unfit for healthcare use. An independent expert report has concluded it would cost an extra £5m to keep and convert the building, above and beyond the current investment on the site.
“This is money that isn’t available and can’t be justified, especially because the facilities at the end would be far less usable and far more costly to run.”
Changes to the planning application include the number of proposed key worker homes, which have been reduced by three, creating more space around neighbouring properties and giving some homes 74ft gardens.
The design and features of the buildings at the front of the site, which would replace H Block, have also been altered.
Mr Renaut said: “We firmly believe that securing services for future generations, making best use of public funds, and ensuring care is delivered in appropriate surroundings, all outweigh the concerns over keeping empty, poor quality buildings.”