WORK on Christchurch Hospital is moving forward with plans to build a new nursing home and flats on site set to start in early autumn.

An update published by the hospital details the work carried out on the Fairmile site so far and outlines plans for the work still to take place.

The proposals for the multi-million-pound transformation were granted by Christchurch council last year and include the demolition of H Block – a former workhouse infirmary – with plans to include a GP surgery, pharmacy, assisted-living units, a care home and key worker housing.

There was controversy during the planning stage with local historians and conservation experts expressing concern about the loss of the historic workhouse infirmary.

It is expected H block will come down in early autumn, allowing for the 80-bed nursing home and 36 assisted living flats to be built.

This work is due to be finished in around 18 months.

Work to refurbish the outpatients department will start soon and mean a number of services will move to different locations at the hospital.

This will affect phlebotomy and pulmonary rehabilitation with a number of services, including children’s services, the League of Friends counter and dermatology, already affected.

Plans for key worker housing are still being drawn up with detailed plans coming in the next 12 months.

Project managers have met with local historians to put together an information board with historical images for the passing public to see.

Richard Renaut, director of service development, said: “Our plans for the Christchurch Hospital site are exciting and will ensure the hospital remains a key part of the community.

“A significant amount of work so far has been ‘invisible’, such as the replacement of mains services, so it’s great to move on to the next stage and for patients, staff and public to see big changes over the next few months.”