empty land in the heart of Havant is set to be sold to make way for a multi-million pound facility for the elderly.
Hampshire County Council has agreed to sell the Oak Park site in River Way.
The decision paves the way for private developers to build a 60-bed nursing centre and dozens of homes that will allow the elderly to retain their independence while having the support of carers.
NHS Hampshire, which jointly owns the Oak Park site, is also set to agree the sale of the land in January.
The land was earmarked for Havant’s £38m community hospital, which never got the final go-ahead due to funding cuts.
NHS Hampshire is renovating the Oak Park Children’s Centre – opposite where the new nursing centre will be built – under a £3.7m scheme that will provide a community clinic for thousands of outpatients.
The nursing centre will have some of the services that the hospital was supposed to provide, including 10 beds for elderly people with mental health conditions and 20 reablement beds.
There will be 50 extra-care housing units for the elderly.
Kate Turner, chairwoman of residents’ panel, Havant and Bedhampton Community First, said: ‘It’s local care for local people.
‘Many of the people are going to suffer from dementia and the government have been saying that the care of people with dementia should be in small facilities which are cosy and where they see people they recognise.’
Eight firms have so far shown in an interest in developing the site.
Councillor Felicity Hindson, in charge of adult social care in Hampshire, said the number of over 65s in the area is expected to rise by 27.9 per cent by 2020.
Cllr Hindson said this means ‘it is highly likely that additional facilities such as extra care and nursing care will be required’.
She added: ‘As people grow older they want to retain their independence and continue to live in a home of their own.
‘They want the reassurance that help is on hand when needed – this is what extra care offers.’
The development will be open by 2014 at the earliest.