Havant's Â£25m Oak Park healthcare plansÂ '˜back to square one'
PLANS for a Â£25M health and wellbeing campus residents have been waiting years for haveÂ stalled once again.
In 2014 Hampshire County Council (HCC)Â awarded a consortium led by Ashley House PLC a contract to buildÂ an 80-bed nursing home andÂ 100Â older persons extra-care and sheltered housing flats at the Oak Park site in Havant.
But due to one of theÂ partner's decisionÂ to withdraw from the project, which was due to be completed next year, the plans have fallen through.
Last monthÂ HCC re-advertised the project online, inviting interested parties to bidÂ to develop and operate Oak Park Health and Wellbeing Campus as justÂ a 60-bed nursing home and 50 older persons extra-care flats.
Ann Buckley, a former county councillor and campaigner for Havant, said: '˜The facilities are urgently needed for elderly residents '“Â theyÂ wouldÂ ease bed-blocking problems at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
'˜Residents have waited years for this and we're back to square one.Â There's less nursing home beds and flats on the tender.Â It'sÂ a disaster for theÂ area.Â
'˜One of the worst aspects of this failure is the councilÂ has left peopleÂ in the dark and scrutiny there has been inadequate.'
After planning permission was granted in 2015 government proposalsÂ on affordable rented housing affected the viability ofÂ the scheme.
It meant uncertainty for social housing organisations whose rents would have been reduced or capped. HCC worked with Havant Borough Council and Homes England to secure additional capital grant for the plans.
TheÂ government then abandoned proposals to introduce rent reforms.
Mrs Buckley said before theÂ Â£25m scheme was drawn up, an Oak Park Hospital was supposed to be built on the site, where Oak Park School used to be.
'˜That was given planning consent but fell throughÂ because of funding problems,' she said.
'˜Many of the clinical services planned there were provided in the Oak Park Community Clinic, but not the bedsÂ lost from the Victoria Cottage Hospital inÂ EmsworthÂ and the Havant War MemorialÂ Hospital.'
HCC and the South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group canÂ purchase up to 30 of the nursing home bedsÂ for reablement or rehabilitation '“Â for those ready to be discharged from hospitalÂ but not well enough to returnÂ home.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, executive member for adult social care and health, said: '˜Due to the decision by one of our partners to withdraw from the project, we are not able to proceed to the next stage of the development.
Regrettably, this will cause a further delay, as for legal reasons we haveÂ to repeat some of the steps already taken to secure our project partners.
'˜We are seeking to do this as quickly as we can,Â working with Havant Borough Council - timings and next steps will be confirmed shortly. The developmentÂ will be a huge asset to Havant.'