Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has expressed his reservations about plans to create a health village on the town’s hospital site.
Mr Hill met with Tracy Woodall, Chief Executive of Alice House Hospice, which is involved in the proposals for an area vacant of land adjacent to the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
The MP says he supports the Hartlepool Constituency Labour Party’s position on the issue which opposes any commercial housing development on the hospital site.
The health village proposals, also involving housing provider Thirteen, include plans for 73 new bungalows and 18 assisted living apartments for the over-55s.
The hospice says it is “a truly unique opportunity” for somewhere people can stay all of their lives with support on hand when they need it.
But Labour say they are not specifically for health and social care purposes and could pose a threat to any future expansion of the hospital site which has seen a number of services disappear in recent times.
Mr Hill described the meeting with Ms Woodall as ‘positive’ and ‘amicable’.
He said: “The facilities are wonderful. We had a discussion about the plans for the health village.
“Tracy’s plans are ambitious. She has some excellent ideas in terms of how social services could and should be provided.
“I made it absolutely clear, and Tracy understands this fully, that my position and the position of the Labour Party and supporters of the hospital is very clear.
“We don’t want to see any development on that land for commercial housing purposes. We would fight that.
“The meeting was amicable and I have got a lot of respect for the work that they do.”
Ms Woodall said she was ‘more than happy’ to work closely with Mr Hill, adding: “The MP and I have met and we both understand each other a little bit more.
“We both want the same thing which is the best service for the people of Hartlepool we can get.
“The hospice is only going to enter into this agreement if we believe what is the right thing for the health village is achieved.”
Ms Woodall said last month the primary objectives of the development are to provide housing for life, where patients and their families are supported to live and die at home with round-the-clock support; reduce hospital admissions through the integration of professional teams to plan and deliver care in the patient’s home; and reduce social isolation.
She said: “All of these properties are to support families with health and social care needs otherwise we would not have been involved in the planning of this development.”