THE Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has released details of two independent reports on Christchurch Hospital's H block to assure some members of the public that alternatives to demolishing the former work house and identifying any potential architectural and historical merits have been explored.
A quantity surveyor viability report for the re-use of H block was carried out last month. It concluded that the internal width of the nightingale ward area makes it unsuitable for reuse and that the footprint limited any remodelling. If H block were kept and used for existing departments, new build extensions would be required. These are estimated at a total of £4.8m, which makes the site unaffordable for the Trust. Any new build would also impact on parking provision or result in reduce key worker housing, income the Trust relies on to make the development work.
English Heritage also recently turned down an application to recommend the unused H block at Christchurch Hospital for listing, for the following reasons:
• Lack of architectural interest.
• Lack of historic interest.
• Alteration; the building has been incrementally extended, through previous ownership, sometimes unsympathetically as in the case of the lift block (added circa 1955)
Richard Renaut, director of service development, said: "H block is unfit for modern healthcare use. The Trust has recently resubmitted its planning application of the development of Christchurch Hospital which will secure NHS services at the site as well as provide a range of other community services, including a GP surgery and assisted living accommodation. The development would also create 80 new jobs long term and bring a £30m boost to the local economy."