A HOSPITAL site embroiled in a long-fought planning battle has been put up for sale – and residents who say they were not consulted have rallied to save it.
Fareham-based agents Hellier Langston announced on Twitter the former Victoria Cottage Hospital in North Street, Emsworth, has been listed for sale by NHS Property Services (NHSPS).
The move rules the building out as the potential site for the proposed new Emsworth GP surgery, after it was declared ‘surplus to need’ by the South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group.
Dwynwen Stepien is the chairwoman of the Emsworth Community Land Trust (ECLT), which was founded by residents and businesses in April to build community facilities and affordable housing in the village – beginning by repurposing the unused hospital site.
After its listing was announced on social media without consultation, she launched the ECLT’s so-called Emsworth United campaign, calling on residents and NHSPS to work together to find a future for the building which will benefit the community.
Talks will begin with a public meeting at Emsworth Baptist Church, in North Street, at 6.30pm on August 22.
‘We are very disappointed that we had not had any notification of the sale from the NHSPS,’ Dwynwen said.
‘But we welcome their cooperation to look at the best way forward for this site.
‘We want to get over the disappointment of doctors not moving there and this now has to be seen as a great opportunity for Emsworth.’
Despite the site decommissioned in 2012 being an ‘asset of community value’, Havant MP Alan Mak also only learned of the hospital listing via Twitter – and has written to NHSPS CEO Elaine Hewitt calling for the sale to be halted to allow the ECLT to ‘organise’ itself as a ‘bidder’.
He said: ‘This freeze will give community groups time to engage with the process.’
Responding to community concerns, an NHSPS spokesperson said: ‘We have been working with Havant Borough Council on potential options and are always willing to continue engaging with our local partners.’