Campaigners have say on plans for ‘health village’ development on hospital site

Land on the site of University Hospital of Hartlepool is being earmarked for housing.
Land on the site of University Hospital of Hartlepool is being earmarked for housing.

Hospital campaigners have raised concerns at proposals to build housing on land on the site of the University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Local housing provider Thirteen is consulting on plans for a 106-home health village by buying surplus hospital land, as reported in yesterday’s Mail.

It comprises independent living apartmnents and homes and bungalows off Wells Avenue that will be available for rent or to buy through shared ownership schemes.

But groups Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital, and also Save Hartlepool Hospital are concerned about the potential loss of land on the hospital site.

Glen Hughes, of Fighting 4 Hartlepool Hospital, said: “Hartlepool is lacking in accommodation of this type, there is no doubt, but the question we feel needs to be asked is ‘is this the best use of the grounds?’.

“It is difficult to understand why the trust want to sell off this land to a private company when North Tees and James Cook hospitals are constantly full to capacity and operations are cancelled, appointments are cancelled and we constantly see noticiations that all beds have been taken and waiting lists grow longer.

“Surely it would be cost effective to utilise to the full what assets the trust already own on the Hartlepool site.”

Members of the group attended a consultation at the hospital on Tuesday, but Mr Hughes said they came away with more questions than answers and intend to hold a meeting and invite councillors, MP Mike Hill and others.

A spokesman for the separate Save Hartlepool Hospital group said: “We are quite happy with the notion of it being assisted housing but we are against it being at that particular site.

“The main problem we have is the fact it goes against the original covenant.

“The land was given to the people of Hartlepool for a hospital, not to be built on and to be made into a housing development.”

He added the assisted living element makes up only a small part of the proposed development saying: “It is only a health village in the name itself, not design or implementation.”