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UPDATED: Christchurch Hospital plans unanimously approved
HOSPITAL bosses are celebrating after multi-million pound plans to secure the future of Christchurch Hospital were unanimously approved.
Members of Christchurch Borough Council's planning committee agreed the revised plans had overcome their concerns from January when permission was previously refused.
The plans from the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust, include a GP surgery, pharmacy, assisted living units, a care home and key worker housing, and aim to retain services including Macmillan and outpatients.
The meeting at Christchurch's Civic Offices was attended by more than 150 people, with many crammed outside the council chamber, unable to find any space - standing or sitting - inside.
There was overwhelming support for the plans, with more than 1,400 letter of support from residents and just 15 letters of objection.
Concerns about the demolition of H Block - a former workhouse infirmary - were somewhat allayed after English Heritage declined to list the building.
And although many people agreed it was a shame to see it demolished, members felt the retention of vital healthcare services in an ageing and expanding population was more important.
Chairman of the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust, Jane Stichbury personally pledged that if the scheme was approved, healthcare services would stay in Christchurch.
She said the Trust had listened to the concerns and made changes and told councillors that if they approved the plans they will "personally secure local healthcare for future generations in Christchurch."
She added: "This will also create over 80 new jobs in the long-term.
"I give you my personal and very public pledge that if you grant the application the Trust is absolutely committed to staying in Christchurch and committed to ensuring for the community even better healthcare services in Christchurch."
Previous stories on the Christchurch Hospital plans
- 1,500 letters of support for Christchurch Hospital scheme
- 'No alternative' to H Block demolition say hospital bosses
- What's more important, bricks or people? ask hospital campaigners
- Experts blast Christchurch hospital plans
- Healthcare IS a priority, residents told
- Last ditch bid to secure hospital services at Christchurch
- Hospital chiefs return to drawing board on multi-million plans for Christchurch Hospital
- Christchurch Hospital plans rejected