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Former Ashurst Hospital site to be redeveloped

THE former Ashurst Hospital site looks set to be redeveloped into a children’s wellbeing centre and 70-bed care home.

National park authority members agreed to support a hybrid planning application, which was drawn up by NHS Property Services. It will see the development of the “contemporary child friendly facility” along with outline plans for a private 70-bed care home which will be sold to help fund development.

The New Forest Birth Centre, which is located at the Lyndhurst Road site, will be retained and an adjacent Snowden Annex will be extended to become the Ashurst Child and Family Wellbeing Centre, featuring a children’s outpatient unit, paediatric audiology department, a community-nurses hub and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).

The former Ashurst Hospital site
The former Ashurst Hospital site

On the remaining part of the site derelict buildings – including a former mortuary, work house, offices and education centre – will be demolished, while a chapel will be kept. Plans for the 70-bed care home are at an outline stage, and will be the subject of a further detailed planning application.

A design and access statement accompanying the application set out: “Developing an integrated hub for health and wellbeing services at Ashurst will enable children, young people and families to access a range of services which are joined up and based in one location. Co-location of physical and mental health services for children will enhance the ability to provide holistic, child centred care.”

The plans also include multi-use bookable rooms shared between departments, and a café hub for use by the wider community.

Vehicle and pedestrian access would be unchanged – from the north via a small slip road off the A35 Lyndhurst Road.

The application adds: “In proposing an extension to the south side of the existing Snowdon Annex linking through to the New Forest Birth Centre there is the ability to create a new state-of-the-art facility all on one campus, under one roof.

“Along with other building stock that has been declared surplus to NHS requirements on the eastern part of the site it makes viable sense to demolish these buildings to provide further space on the site for care home facility with the sale of the land funding the new updated hospital facility.”

Speaking in support, planning consultant Julian Bolitho said: “In terms of the two elements of the proposal there is a direct link in that the capital receipt for the sale of the land for the care home is to be reinvested in the healthcare extension.”

“The vision here is to deliver a co-located centre of excellence joining up physical, mental health and wellbeing services for children and families.”

The development of the care home was described as a “much-needed” specialist residential accommodation for older people, which would feature up to 70 en suite bedrooms.

Members of the NPA planning committee agreed to authorise head of planning Steve Avery to grant permission for the scheme, pending the completion of legal agreements.

A detailed application for the development of the 70-bed care home will be submitted at a later date.

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