WORK to build a £10m state-of-the-art community hospital in Hythe is to begin this month, two years after planning permission was granted.
As reported in the A&T, the go-ahead was granted by New Forest District Council in 2018 for a new healthcare facility and up to 21 homes on the site of the former Hythe and Dibden War Memorial Hospital.
NHS bosses have now officially given permission to release £10.7m to fund the project at the Beaulieu Road site.
It has been vacant since 2016 following a review in 2010 which found the buildings were in a poor and unacceptable condition.
The new homes, which have outline permission, will eventually be built on surplus land that will be sold to a developer.
Work on the two-storey hospital is due to begin at the end of the month, with a provisional completion date set for May 2022.
It is expected that the majority of services currently provided will continue to run as normal during the construction period, but in the event of any disruption patients will be redirected to alternative locations if necessary.
The new hospital will provide a range of health and wellbeing services for local people including outpatients, therapy and diagnostic services as well as specialist community dentistry.
Before its closure, it had offered a range of services with 17 beds available to local patients either recovering from operations or needing respite care, as well as a maternity department.
Dr Sarah Schofield, clinical chair of West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We’re really excited to be taking these final steps in the redevelopment of Hythe and Dibden War Memorial Hospital.
“We would like to thank the local community and the League of Friends for all their hard work and support in now making this a reality.”
League of Friends chair John Carr added: “This is such good news for the local community and has been long awaited.
“We are so pleased that we can now progress with the construction of the building which will continue to provide a variety of much valued clinical services and maintain its importance as the war memorial.”
The original hospital opened in around 1922 in tribute to the 30 local people who lost their lives in the First World War, and it was extended in the 1960s.
No details have yet been confirmed of the style of dwellings and whether it will be a mixture of houses, bungalows or flats.
There will also be 41 new parking spaces at the hospital, bringing the total onsite to 108 and 36 new cycle spaces. Existing access points from Beaulieu Road would remain.
* A previous version of this article said the hospital was built in 1890. We apologise for the error