Hospital site plans on show

PLANS for the regeneration of a rural hospital site have gone on public display.

David Green

PLANS for the regeneration of a rural hospital site have gone on public display.

NHS Suffolk is looking to develop the site of Hartismere Hospital at Eye with a new range of health services, financed by the sale of land for a private nursing home and housing development.

Ten beds in the nursing home will be contracted for NHS patients - preserving a local in-patient capability.

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Yesterday local residents were able to see computer generated images of what the hospital site might look like in the future, as an exhibition was held in Eye Town Hall.

Bitter opposition was voiced when plans were announced some years ago to close Hartismere Hospital and replace it with a “care in the community” approach.

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However, opposition diminished as proposals emerged for the establishment of a new “health village” - providing a range of services, including space for local GPs.

Martin Royal, director of building development for NHS Suffolk, who was among officials talking to local people at the exhibition, said under a regeneration brief agreed with Mid Suffolk District Council one third of the site would be used by the health service.

The remaining two thirds would be used for sheltered accommodation, a nursing home and private housing development.

“This is a chance, for the first time, for people to look at the concept, at what the site might look like in the future,” he said. “Up to now there has been nothing tangible.”

Mr Royal said NHS Suffolk was about to consider the proposed business plan for the project and this would then go to the strategic health authority (SHA) for approval.

“The next step is to appoint a development partner and this will have to involve a company with some knowledge of health service delivery,” he said.

Elizabeth Gibson-Harries, chairman of the local locality group, said she was delighted that the project was progressing.

“Local people have been persistent in promoting their vision of the new site and it is a credit to them that we have got this far,” she said.

Building work on the site is expected to start in 2010.

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