Is Warminster's hospital future safe?(March 20, 2015)
The closure of Westbury hospital and the transfer of its ownership to the coalition government's NHS Property Services Ltd resulted from a plan that was agreed five years ago and fears are now being expressed in Warminster about the future of their 'cottage' hospital.
"In 2010 a NHS 'estate strategy' agreed to close Westbury hospital allowing it 'to be sold off and redeveloped' and now that is very likely to happen," explains Cllr. Paul Macdonald.
"In 2010 that same report agreed to invest in Warminster hospital saying 'the majority of the investment will be in the fabric of the original building.'
"The same NHS Trust is currently working on a new estate strategy and we must be alert enough to take an interest in this."
In 2013 the Conservative coalition government set up a limited company NHS Property Servies Ltd wholly owned by the secretary of state for health. They now own Westbury hospital.
Neighbourhood Plan and the 'Campus Question'
The market town of Warminster is currently in the midst of two challenges about the future of its town centre.
"At the same time as the NHS takes a look at the property it owns the town council Neighbourhod Plan Working Group is proposing a new road slap bang alongside the hospital.
"And at the same time Wiltshire Council is looking into the regeneration of the surrounding area to find an answer to their 'campus question'.
"We have already seen what the government policy has done to our community at Gypsy Lane and Plants Green with Fairview House to be demolished and high density housing planned.
"Should we be concerned for the future of our hospital?"