Former Ashurst hospital set for £4.5m redevelopment
A FORMER hospital in Ashurst could be demolished under plans being draw up for a £4.5m redevelopment of the site.
NHS Property Services wants to flatten the hospital, which was a former workhouse dating back to 1836, off Lyndhurst Road and replace it with a 70-bed care home and car park.
A two-storey extension to Snowden House, which is home to the New Forest Birth Centre, is also planned to provide extra healthcare facilities.
A NHS spokesperson told the A&T: "This is a really exciting project that will improve the current healthcare in the local area, with a focus on wellbeing and modernisation that will benefit the local community.
"The nursing home will replace the old workhouse and will cater for the older population, while the child and family health and wellbeing centre will offer new facilities that include a sensory play area.
"The project will also ensure the ongoing provision of maternity services in the local area.
"There will be a wellbeing café on site and we will also be partnering with a number of local charities to further increase the wellbeing offering of the site.”
The spokesperson added: “We are particularly proud of the fact that the project is being funded through capital recycling and that all of the funds raised from the disposal of vacant land are funding 100% of this project."
The applicant has approached the national park authority for its views, which has ruled that an environmental impact assessment must be submitted.
A preliminary report prepared by NPA’s planning officers describes the proposed development as "very significant".
It added: "The site currently comprises Ashurst Hospital, the Snowden building, a chapel and a former workhouse building and mortuary.
"The workhouse buildings have most recently been used in association with the hospital and as an associated educational facility, although they are now largely unoccupied. The chapel and workhouse are considered to be non-designated heritage assets."
However, it added that the NPA's archaeologist had identified there may be archaeological remains related to the 1836 New Forest Union Workhouse and landscape is “highly sensitive”.
The scheme has the potential to harm the character of the site and views from the open Forest, it added, particularly the extension to the Snowden building which it wanred would introduce an urban element which would conflict with the existing rural character.
The future of the three-hectare site has been under discussion for several years, after the older hospital buildings were deemed no longer fit for purpose.
A planning application is due to be submitted next month.