MP says '˜enough is enough' over housing plans for Hartlepool hospital site

MP for Hartlepool Mike Hill has hit out at plans to build on the town's hospital site.

Monday, 29th January 2018, 1:29 pm
Updated Monday, 29th January 2018, 1:30 pm
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID

Housing provider Thirteen is consulting on proposals for a 106-home health village on land at the UniversityHospital of Hartlepool.

It includes asisted living apartments and new homes and bungalows available to buy through shared ownership schemes or to rent.

University Hospital of Hartlepool

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Mr Hill called the proposal ill-conceived, unwanted and contrary to the original intended use for the land.

He said: “The Labour Party and myself are at one with those who state that the plans go against the original covenant over development of the land and that was made plain at a joint meeting between Easington and Hartlepool Labour Party members at a general meeting on the NHS on Friday 26th January.

“We are not satisfied at all that the arguments have been put that this is a development which will compliment services provided at the hospital now or in the future.

“People have rightly been concerned about the drift away of services from the hospital and a line must be drawn in the sand on this proposed development to say enough is enough.”

University Hospital of Hartlepool

Residents living nearby were sent a letter by Thirteen outlining the proposal and inviting them to a consultation event held last Tuesday.

Mr Hill added: “The devil is in the detail, but placing the emphasis on building homes in the consultation letter first and ending with supported living last is either crass stupidity, an admission of the intention to just develop the land for social housing primarily or is a naive mistake in thinking that calling the project a health village would somehow satisfy folk and meet the requirements of the Town Local Plan that the land can only be used for health or social care purposes.

“Developing hospital land for housing purposes, irrespective of the Government’s Charter to do so under the Nolan recommendations, sends all the wrong messages out in this case.”

Thirteen says the independent living part of the proposal would complement existing hospital services and help to meet the needs of residents who will benefit from specialist features.

It believes the new homes and bungalows will appeal to hospital workers.

The North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust says it is considering an offer from Thirteen to buy surplus land on the hospital site.

Peter Mitchell, the trust’s director of estates, said: “In this instance, a housing association has submitted an outline planning application for a development to significantly improve the social housing provision for Hartlepool and this is an excellent development opportunity with huge benefits for the local residents.

“The association has a good local reputation as a social landlord, with an excellent track record of providing similar social housing developments which have been extremely successful for both local people and the local health economy.”