More than 160 people attended a public consultation event last week concerning plans to build a new hospital in Buxton.
The old Buxton Water bottling site on Station Road is on the cards to become a new hospital and retirement village, and an open event was held last week for the public to find out more.
Kevin Whitmore is from McCarthy and Stone, which if plans are approved will be providing the older people’s living accommodation on one third of the old site next to Buxton Railway Station.
He said: “A total of 167 people came along which is a really good strong turnout, and so far 86 per cent of the feedback has been in support of the scheme.
“People want to see the area used and are happy there is a strong plan for the site.”
Ian Wilkins, North Divisional Managing Director at McCarthy and Stone, said: “We are encouraged by the local response to our plans for land off Station Road in Buxton, and that the community is supportive of our proposals. We are grateful to those who came to see our proposals last Thursday and leave their feedback.
“We are pleased that so many local residents agree this site is the perfect location for extra care accommodation for local older people.
“There is still time for local residents to have their say, and we welcome further feedback as we finalise our proposals.”
Two thirds of the Station Road site will be used to provide a new £20m hospital.
The new site will accommodate services currently provided by the town’s two existing hospitals including the X-ray unit, minor injuries unit, the eight elderly rehabilitation beds from Fenton Ward currently at the Cavendish Hospital and the community mental health team. It will also incorporate Stewart Medical Centre, Elmwood Medical Practice and Buxton Medical Practice.
William Jones, Chief Operating Officer for Derbyshire Community Health Services (DCHS) NHS Foundation Trust, said: “It is fantastic that so many in the local community came to see our proposals at the public exhibition on February 15.
“We are delighted that local people agree that a public-sector facility such as this is needed in central Buxton. We look forward to submitting our outline planning application in the coming weeks, with further community engagement taking place following the outcome of this initial application.”
Mr Whitmore continued: “We will be submitting detailed road and access needs for our site.
“This is a highly accessible location and we know people who come into our properties may not have a car, but being near a train station, within walking distance of the town centre and sharing the same site as a hospital, will be good for those who live here, which is always a consideration when picking a site.”
The Station Road site has stood vacant since 2012. Nestlé wanted to turn the site into a retail and hotel accommodation, however the deal with supermarket giant Tesco fell through and in early 2016 talks resumed about building a new hospital.
The site was sold by Nestle Waters in December, paving the way for the new development.
However previous owners Peak Rail still retain a portion of land and state there are covenants and land orders in place which allow them access and the use of a railway on the land.
“These have been brought to our attention and we have our lawyers looking into it,” Mr Whitmore added.
Paul Tomlinson, a director at Peak Rail, said: “Nobody can remove them unless Peak Rail agree and if we agree we will become landlocked, so the only way we can gain access would be if we parachuted in. It would be like selling the rights to your drive so you can’t get into your house.
“We have had many meetings with Nestle Waters who knew about the land orders, but I just find it exceedingly rude the new land owners did not make contact with us before announcing their plans.”