Supermarket site - once earmarked for new hospital - to be demolished
DEMOLITION work is to start next week on a former supermarket building on the site once earmarked for a new Clevedon hospital.
NHS bosses have announced that work to demolish the former Kwik Save shopping complex at Millcross is due to start on February 4.
The site, which was purchased by North Somerset PCT for £1.5 million for the new hospital has become a target for thieves and vandals over the past year.
The project will involve demolishing all the buildings on the site and cost NHS North Somerset around £45,000.
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Work is expected to take around four weeks to complete and will save NHS North Somerset around £54,000 in annual maintenance and security costs.
The site will remain enclosed by hoarding during and after demolition and NHS North Somerset will continue to maintain the green space and trees around the site as well as retaining security patrols to look after it.
The future of the site has been in question following a decision by NHS chiefs in the summer to abandon plans for a new £15 million hospital on the site on the basis it was no longer affordable.
It had been hoped that the hospital would have opened in 2014 and health chiefs are now considering the different options open to them for providing health services in the district.
NHS bosses have said no decisions have yet been made regarding the future of the site.
NHS North Somerset project director, Ben Bennett, said: "Although we have yet to formally decide on the future of the Millcross site, the demolition of the now derelict Kwik Save building is a sensible option regardless of the future use of the site as it will reduce costs and improve the security of the site."
The current cottage hospital at Old Street, which was built in 1874, has 18 beds as well as an accident and emergency department.
Planning permission for the new hospital had already been granted and outline consent granted to build 14 new homes on the site at Old Street.
Plans for the new hospital had included a 24 bed inpatient unit on the first floor, a counselling suite, administration block and therapy unit and garden.
It would also have a minor injuries department which will open 8am to 8pm seven days a week and provide accommodation for the out-of-hours GP service.
Plans also included an imaging unit, an outpatients' wing, a pedestrian piazza at the entrance to the building and a therapy garden.
PCT chiefs now plan to focus their efforts on improving the current cottage hospital, carrying out general maintenance to the building and upgrading equipment.
Funding has been put into next year's capital budget to carry out the work and although plans have not been finalised, initial work is expected to include minor improvements and replacing some equipment.
The PCT will then work with the new clinical commissioning group (CCG), which is due to come into force in April, to look at whether the building needs to be remodelled to house any additional services.
The CCG and PCT plan to work with a number of groups, including GPs, local residents, North Somerset Community Partnership and Clevedon Hospital League of friends to consider options and shape future proposals for Clevedon Community Hospital.
Meanwhile the services currently provided on the site will remain.