'Beds needed for town's health scheme'

A pioneering health care scheme for a Norfolk town will only work if local community beds are not axed, the charity behind the project has warned. Aylsham Care Trust (ACT) and Hopkins Homes' proposals would see the St Michael's Hospital site in Cawston Road used to build new homes and care facilities.

A pioneering health care scheme for a Norfolk town will only work if local community beds are not axed, the charity behind the project has warned.

Aylsham Care Trust (ACT) and Hopkins Homes' proposals would see the St Michael's Hospital site in Cawston Road used to build new homes and care facilities.

If approved, the proposals would see 200 homes built, a 70-bed care home, a community centre and, potentially, a health centre.

The listed hospital building itself would be converted into 39 homes.

But those behind the scheme - which has been in the making since 1991 - have said it would be incomplete if beds at the town's cottage hospital were axed.

Rees Coghlan, a founder member of ACT, said: "We're hopefully going to see quite a lot of care provided on the site, but we still need the community beds, they are a vital part of the care package. We cannot understand the mentality of people who try and save money by closing community beds."

Most Read

The scheme is a unique partnership between ACT, Norfolk Primary Care Trust, Circle Housing Association and Hopkins Homes, sparked by the donation of land by the Coghlan family.

Jenny Manser, chairman of ACT, said: "It has taken years and years to bring this to fruition and we are very excited about it."

Hopkins will build most of the homes but the care home and community centre are set to go out to a specialist contractor.

Land for a health centre or doctor's surgery has been earmarked for five years.

If it is not possible, through the PCT or other surgeries in Aylsham, to build it within that time, another use will be looked at for the land.