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Public urged to back Heatherwood redevelopment plan or risk losing hospital

A campaign group has warned that opposition to the redevelopment of the Heatherwood Hospital site threatens the whole future of the hospital in Ascot.

An application was submitted in October last year for a new £90m elective care hospital, including GP services, on greenbelt land next to the current hospital, with the old building to be eventually knocked down to make way for 250 new homes.

The Save Heatherwood Hospital campaign (SHH) has called on the public to back the plans.

Spokeswoman Margery Thorogood said: “If people don’t see how important this development is then there is a chance it won’t be built and we might lose the hospital altogether.

“This is about the community, not nimbyism.”

SHH represents four groups: Ascot Community Action Group, Defend Our Community Services, The Health Advisory Group, and Windsor and Slough Against the Cuts.

In response to concerns raised by residents and parish councils, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, has agreed to cut the number of houses to 230.

It will also retain a natural barrier between the hospital and nearby homes and has lowered the height of the proposed hospital by about five feet to improve views.

Plans for 10 ‘woodland villas’ have also been taken out of the scheme as people felt they did not fit the setting.

Ms Thorogood added: “We’ve had discussions with the trust and I think they have addressed those concerns.

“This is the best outcome at this point in time. So much work has gone into the plans.”

A petition by the group to save the hospital had previously gathered 25,000 signatures.

A spokesman for the trust said: “This is the only solution that is practically and financially viable to keep the hospital on the site.”

If the application was rejected, the spokesman said, the trust would not be able to continue running services at the current hospital indefinitely.

The Royal Borough’s principal member for public health, Cllr Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill), said: “The best outcome will be for the application to get approved. It’s a great opportunity for a new hospital, with new services and the primary care hub will be key in terms of integrating primary and social care.”

A special meeting to decide the hospital’s future will take place on Tuesday, August 22, at 7pm.

A venue in Ascot will be confirmed when the agenda is published on Monday.

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  • Stephenghc

    21:09, 11 August 2017

    The opportunity for a new community hospital in the area must not be missed and selling off the existing land for building is a logical contribution to the cost. The selfishness of some people or 'interests' in resisting is arguably shameful though unsurprising. Hospitals, to be kept operational meanwhile, cannot be efficiently updated by adding bits here and there, which is what has happened over the years as new procedures evolved. A clean sweep, a start again, is the right solution. We are so lucky to have a hospital just there, accessible from a wide area.

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    • Nickw

      18:06, 16 August 2017

      Absolutely. If the Trust cannot maintain services at the hospital indefinitely under the current arrangement, I wonder what people think will happen to the site then? Much effort has gone into creating a viable, local health service and funding its building through the provision of housing. Far better to go with this well thought out plan with minimal impact and maximum benefit to the local community than leave the vacant site open to opportunistic developers when the hospital has to close.

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