Call made for council to purchase hospital site

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THE leader of Portsmouth’s Lib Dem group has urged the council to buy part of a hospital site earmarked for housing.

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson says NHS Property Services Ltd is willing to sell part of the St James’ Hospital grounds, in Milton, to the council for the right price.

The section in question concerns the Harbour School, a child development unit, and surrounding grounds.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson says the council should buy the facilities to ensure they remain for educational use.

He believes that is not a great deal more than the £2.75m the authority would have to pay to relocate the Harbour School if homes for the site are given the go-ahead.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said: ‘It might be that we are going to need more school places.’

But Cllr Luke Stubbs, Tory deputy leader of the council, said: ‘It doesn’t begin to add up. The NHS will be looking for possibly £7m for the land. The cost of putting a new school in is about £2.5m, but that also includes a new central kitchen to provide meals for infant schools, which we don’t have.’