Uncertainty surrounds the future of a planned ‘health village’ development in Hartlepool after one of the key partners pulled out.
Local housing provider Thirteen has been developing the proposals with Alice House Hospice for 73 new bungalows and 18 assisted living apartments for the over 55s on eight acres of land adjacent to the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
But the hospice has withdrawn from the development blaming financial pressures.
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill, who along with health campaigners have expressed concerns about the prospect of commercial housing being built on the land, described it as ‘a significant development’.
In an announcement, Tracy Woodall, chief executive at Alice House Hospice, said: “After much deliberation and discussion with the Senior Management Team and the Chair of Trustees, we have decided that we are no longer in a position to proceed with the planned proposal of working with Thirteen Group to develop the Health Village.
“It has been a difficult year financially and we believe that our investment in the project is not deliverable at this time.
“We wish to concentrate on the excellent core services we currently provide to support our communities both in the Hospice and in the community.”
The hospice previously said the objectives of the health village were to provide housing for life, where patients and their families are supported to live and die at home with round the clock support, and to reduce hospital admissions through the integration of professional teams.
Mr Hill said: “Thirteen Housing Group recently wrote to me to inform me they were still pressing ahead with an application to develop the land, which I have always said would be opposed by myself and the people of the town if it turned out to be predominantly housing, however it was dressed up, and given they were aiming to partner up with the hospice it will be interesting to see whether or not they proceed in light of this decision.
“The land by covenant and in accordance with the council’s Local Plan must be utilised for health purposes only.
“Our hospital is a precious asset to the town, everybody knows that and everybody is committed to defending it and to not see it undermined by the creation of a housing development on its doorstep.”