Speaking at a packed community forum in January last year, district council leader Ferris Cowper said that he was determined to ensure the early provision of healthcare facilities.
His comments came following mounting concern about local health services, with the Chase Community Hospital’s ongoing reshaping hitting speed bumps.
As a result, Mr Cowper “guaranteed” that there will be a minor injuries unit and new care home in Whitehill and Bordon, 10 miles north of Petersfield, as part of the town’s regeneration.
Now, 12 months on, an EHDC spokesman said their leader has been “working hard behind the scenes” and has secured the interest of a developer who is keen to work with the council and other partners to deliver the facilities by 2019.
In a statement, the council explained that the developer, who has not yet been identified, has “considerable experience” in the care homes sector and “one of our other lead partners is a highly regarded clinical practitioner”.
“East Hampshire District Council has taken the lead in pursuing top health facilities for the town, even though it is out of its remit, because councillors feel that it is a vital part of the town’s regeneration,” the statement added.
To draw up the proposals, the council has worked with partners involved in healthcare provision, doctors, as well as “design teams”.
EHDC went on to outline which facilities the purpose-built health campus “could have” These include:
* An extended primary care centre (with GPs, specialist nurses, therapists, hospital consultants and pharmacists working together to meet the health needs of residents) with access to advice seven days per week;
* Facilities and expertise to deal with minor injuries and provide diagnostic care to avoid travel to hospitals in Guildford, Basingstoke or Portsmouth;
* A dentist;
* A leisure centre to support healthy living and rehabilitation, for example for patients recovering from a heart attack;
* Care-ready homes in the shape of flats designed specifically to allow vulnerable people who may normally need hospital or residential care to continue to lead independent lives. These homes will be designed to take into account the care needs of future occupiers, so that accidents such as falls or trips are less likely than those living in standard accommodation;
* Nursing home plus – a new nursing home which will care for people with more complex needs;
* The campus site will have open spaces with a play area, park and sculptures, all designed to improve health and well-being;
* A healthy living centre which will support and inspire people to prioritise their own and their families’ health;
* An education hub which will enable the training and development of care professionals so that they are armed with the knowledge and skills to deliver outstanding care; and
* A cafe which will provide opportunities for social interaction and community involvement.
Currently, residents have to travel to other locations (in a 30-mile radius) to access some of these “vital services”.
Chase Hospital will remain “an important facility” for local people while the services are developed.
But EHDC said the new campus would “encompass all the facilities currently provided by the Chase” as well as the significant state-of-the-art new facilities.
Mr Cowper explained: “East Hampshire District Council has led the work to develop these proposals for a health campus in the new town centre since I called for it to be provided in January last year.
“Healthcare is outside East Hampshire District Council’s specific remit but we have been really proactive and led the development of these plans because they are so important to creating a thriving, healthy town where residents have a fantastic quality of life.
“This is a vital facility for Whitehill and Bordon and will be a great example of how a town centre can be planned with health and wellbeing at its very heart.
“As well as plans for a health campus we are working hard to design a town which promotes health and well-being at every turn.
“This will ensure that Whitehill and Bordon is not only a green town but a healthy green town.”
The overall regeneration of Whitehill and Bordon will see 3,350 new homes, an estimated 5,500 new jobs, a new town centre, new road, schools, and leisure facilities.