Council could buy St James’ Hospital site

St James' Hospital, Milton
St James' Hospital, Milton

Solent Waspi campaigners attend Fareham fair

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PORTSMOUTH City Council is looking at the possibility of buying land at the St James’ Hospital site in Milton.

If it proves financially viable the move could enable the council to relocate some of its existing facilities, should they be suitable to operate from the site, as well as protect open space in the area.

Potential uses could include a new residential care home, currently planned for Drayton; housing for vulnerable adults; or the relocation of sites used by Harbour School elsewhere in the city.

The site is currently earmarked for around 480 homes, but many believe this would place huge pressure on the area’s congested roads.

Conservative Council Leader Cllr Donna Jones said: ‘As leader of the council I want to explore all options possible for land at St James’ Hospital.

‘The availability of this land could present an opportunity for us to improve some of the facilities we need to provide in the city while ensuring any development is sympathetic to the area.’

The cost of buying the land from the NHS is expected to be between £6m and £8m and before any deal the council will have to do a detailed analysis of the benefits which could be gained from spending this money, along with additional costs associated with relocating existing facilities and any renovation of buildings at St James’.

The proposal will be debated at tomorrow’s full council meeting, but Cllr Jones stressed no final decisions will be made until a detailed analysis is carried out by officers to see if the bid is feasible.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats will be putting forward their own plan to protect part of the green space and ensure the Harbour School remains in Milton.

Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I hope that councillors from all parties can get behind local residents in the fight to keep Milton green.’