Residents on mission to stop hospital demolition

112071-8411 HAVANT HOSPITAL PROTEST (JT) MRW 8/6/2011''Residents from Havant at The Havant War Memorial Hospital at Cross Way Havant are asking for it not to be closed '''Picture: Malcolm Wells (112071-8411)
112071-8411 HAVANT HOSPITAL PROTEST (JT) MRW 8/6/2011''Residents from Havant at The Havant War Memorial Hospital at Cross Way Havant are asking for it not to be closed '''Picture: Malcolm Wells (112071-8411)

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THE fight is on to save two historic hospitals from the bulldozers.

Residents in Havant and Emsworth are battling to save their heritage as two hospitals face being sold off as part of a shake-up of healthcare.

NHS Hampshire plans to sell Havant War Memorial Hospital and Emsworth Victoria Cottage Hospital for up to £1.5m.

The War Memorial Hospital, which provides intermediate care for the elderly, could close by September.

The cash from the sale will be poured back into the new state-of-the-art Oak Park Community Clinic in Havant, which will provide outpatient and diagnostics and is due to open by autumn next year.

But residents are now worried about the fate of the buildings, which could be sold to developers.

Havant War Memorial Hospital was built in 1929 through money raised by the people of Havant and features a memorial stone to those who died during the First World War. It also has rare Royal Doulton tiles, which include nursery rhymes, in the former children’s ward.

Pete Walden, chairman of Havant Over-50s forum, said: ‘People are against pulling the building down.

‘It would be an insult to the people of Havant who paid for the hospital.’

The group is applying for listed status, which would prevent demolition.

The Cottage Hospital in Emsworth is 114 years old.

Chairwoman of Emsworth Residents’ Association Lorraine Clode said: ‘We would be very resistant to it being demolished or used for anything other than a medical facility.’

Officials at NHS Hampshire said they were open to saving some of the period features, but there were no convenants preventing demolition.

Inger Hebden, director of capital planning at NHS Hampshire, said: ‘Both Havant War Memorial Hospital and Emsworth Cottage Hospital will be sold at some point in the future as part of our exciting plans to improve healthcare services.

‘We know that Havant War Memorial Hospital has a war memorial stone and we have been discussing the future relocation of this stone to the Oak Park site as we know that it is valued by local residents.

‘There are also some nursery rhyme tiles in the hospital and we are in discussions with local people to try and find a suitable home for one of the panels.’