August 19, 2008

Moreton-in-Marsh New Hospital Bid Dubbed ‘Hare-Brained’

By caroline fisher

A Bid to build a new state-of- the-art hospital on the edge of Moreton-in-Marsh has been called "hare-brained".

Charles Young, backed by fellow residents, said buses would need to run flat out to ferry patients and visitors to the out-of-town site.

He spoke out at a public consultation at Moreton's Fire Service College.

The firefighters' training centre has offered part of its campus, on the A44 London Road, as a potential site for a hospital and healthcare village.

It unveiled its plans for comment at the Redesdale Hall. The plans, produced by agents Knight Frank, feature a 50-bedroom NHS cottage hospital, with room to expand on the 3.5-hectare site and include two GP surgeries, a minor accident and emergency unit, diagnostic services, rehab, outpatients and a cafe.

The 6.9-hectare healthcare village could consist of 80 units for assisted living, 20 for independent living, a 24-hour close care home with 80 bedrooms, a restaurant, cafe, spa, pool, gym, library, day room, shop, hairdresser and bowling green.

But Mr Young said: "It's the most hare-brained scheme ever constructed. Buses only run there on a Tuesday - are they going to provide a shuttle on a 10-minute circular bus route?"

Resident Mary Williams added: "It's a silly idea, it's too far out of town."

Town council chairman Dick Carroll said: "It's a good initiative led by the Fire College to show facilities could be made available which they feel could benefit the town.

"But there's the distance to travel and will doctors' surgeries get moved out of the town centre?"

Richard Walters, from Knight Frank, said: "We think this is a good site and hope to put in an outline planning application to Cotswold District Council during September."

Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust spokesman Anthony Dallimore said: "We will be exploring a number of sites and will involve the community and staff in helping us to reach a decision."

(c) 2008 Gloucestershire Echo, The. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.