Plans for multi-million pound Halesworth health and care facilities go on show

People inspecting plans for the multi-million pound project in Halesworth. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

People inspecting plans for the multi-million pound project in Halesworth. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Work on bringing multi-million-pound health and care facilities to Halesworth could start as early as April 2017, according to the latest plans.

The ambitious project will see a new sports and wellbeing complex built on the old middle school site, with a care home and associated medical facilities on the nearby Dairy Hill.

And at en exhibition held in the town’s library last Friday, the public were given the chance to have a look at plans before a bid for planning permission for the whole development is submitted in the coming weeks.

Tony Goldson, chairman of Halesworth Campus said: “This project is going to bring health, fitness and mental health facilities all in one designated area and that’s the biggest achievement.

“To have these facilities in a market town of this size hasn’t been done anywhere else. The Campus is going to be a facility for the community.

“We’ve got youngsters in this town who are isolated because they are different. This project can bring the young people to an area where they can be seen and benefit.

“The exhibition was well received. It was nice to see so many people take an interest in something that’s going to be so innovative for Halesworth.”

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Halesworth Playing Fields Association (HPFA), which owns the Dairy Hill site, is in the process of selling that land to Castlemeadow Care, which will build the care home, subject to planning permission being granted by Waveney District Council.

Money from the sale of this land will then be used to build the sports facilities, which will eventually be run by Sentinel Leisure, who have already been unveiled as the preferred operators.

HPFA and Halesworth Campus Limited, which owns the old middle school site, plan to merge into one charity, called Halesworth Campus Trust, to oversee the new facilities.

The Campus Trust will be run by the residents of Halesworth and the surrounding villages with trustees from local sports clubs, the town council and residents of the town.

It is hoped a final design, operational costs and feasibility costs can be agreed on by September, with construction starting in April next year. The site is then projected to open in April 2018.

The first phase is expected to cost about £3m and will see facilities including football pitches, tennis courts, cricket training nets, a fitness studio and a new access road all completed. Some funds have already been allocated to deliver the second and third phases of the scheme, which will include a swimming pool, and extra funding opportunities are being explored.

Janet Watts, who lives near the site of the proposed development said: “Although I’m not personally very sporty, at the moment this area is redundant and seeing this being built would be fantastic, particularly as losing the school was a step in the wrong direction in terms of Halesworth being a diverse town age-wise. Something that regenerates the town with a focus on things that young people are likely to be interested in is a good idea.”

Director of Castlemeadow Care Sanjay Kaushal said the first stage of the care home is projected to be opened in 2018.

He said: “We’re coming up with an innovative care facility that is really going to meet the challenges of future care.

“Where Patrick Stead hospital has stood for 125 years, we want this to stand for the next 125 years.

“Part of the grand vision is to have integrated health and social care. Cutlers Hill GP surgery will play a close part in overseeing the general wellbeing of our residents, we’ll have outpatient clinics to try and treat patients closer to their home. We want to stop hospital admissions.

“The building is designed for the 21st century and it exceeds minimum care standards. It’s a very ambitious project but it shows our confidence in the scheme. It will really meet the needs of the local population.”

The first phase of the care home work will cost in the region of £16m to build.

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