CAMPAIGNERS have been told they will have to wait two more months for an update on plans for ‘desperately needed’ new health facilities.
The Oak Park Health and Wellbeing Campus was supposed to be built in Havant last year but has had no developer since a consortium which took on the project in 2014 pulled out.
The latest in a string of bidding rounds for the project led by Hampshire County Council closes on February 22, with an announcement now expected ‘shortly after Easter'.
Havant campaigner Ann Buckley has long backed the facility, which is expected to deliver an 80-bed care home and 99 extra care and supported living apartments for older people.
‘This has been a very frustrating process, particularly because these facilities are so desperately needed in Havant,' she said.
‘I'm pleased it has been re-tendered because that is an indication that it will actually happen – so we will look forward to the next announcement.’
When it was previously put out to tender in August, 2018, the council specified the Oak Park site would be suitable for a reduced 60-bed nursing home and 50 extra care flats.
To the joy of campaigners that number has now inflated back to what was proposed when it first went out to tender – and it is reported work on an ‘area of hard standing’ at the site has begun, to ensure planning permission for the scheme does not go out of date.
Ms Buckley said: ‘Had the planning permission elapsed it would’ve been a disaster because they would've needed to go the whole process again.
‘Although we’re having to wait the site itself looks the best now it has done for a long, long time.’
The council, which has valued construction of Oak Park Health and Wellbeing Campus at £51m, said ‘good progress’ is being made to secure a new development partner.
Councillor Liz Fairhurst, the authority’s executive member for adult social care and health, said: ‘Once done, we will wish to proceed to the first stages of development as quickly as possible.
‘Despite the frustrations we can now look forward positively to the development getting off the ground in the near future.’
The current tender went live on December 12, 2018 and specifies the developer’s contract will begin on June 3, 2019.
In October, it was estimated the campus could be built by ‘early 2021’.