Concerns have been expressed over new housing plans on the site of Hartlepool’s hospital.
Regional property group Thirteen has been given £430,000 from a government fund to speed up home building on two sites in Hartlepool.
One is the Raby Estate project in Dyke House and the other is at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
The hospital trust says the plans relate to surplus land on the hospital site, and the new homes would be designed for people with health related needs.
But hospital campaigners fear any building could prevent the site being extended for medical purposes in the future and undermine it.
Peter Mitchell, director of estates and facilities at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The trust has had discussions with Thirteen Group and health partners about the potential use of surplus land for new high-quality housing which would be specifically designed for people with health-related needs.
“These plans are in the pre-development stage and we will be meeting again with Thirteen to progress these.”
Thirteen says the Government funding will help address problems that hold up housing projects and encourage good design.
Chief executive Ian Wardle said: “We are delighted to have secured this funding from the Estate Regeneration Fund.
“Although there are no firm plans in place, the funding will support pre-development feasibility, including community consultation and engagement.
“It will allow us to build modern, high-quality new homes quickly in locations across the Tees Valley.”
Keith Fisher of the Save Our Hospital campaign said it will always contest the building of anything on the Holdforth Road site which is not directly connected to the hospital itself.
He said: “In short, any domestic building on our Holdforth Road site would be considered as deliberate attempts to prevent any future re-development of our ‘local’ general hospital provision which a recurring stream of national experts have identified as the safer principle and also aligns with clear public demand.”
Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital echoed Mr Fisher.
A spokesman said: “We would hope that this project would not stop any necessary extensions in the future. How does this proposed plan fit within the context of the covenant already in place?
“All negotiations should be open and transparent. Requests for tender should be on a level playing field with no party holding discussions behind closed doors.”