The planning committee has given Western Sussex Hospitals the best news – that they can now maximise the return from selling the disused part of Southlands Hospital, so as to reinvest in a state-of-the-art ophthalmology department and in the remainder of the site generally, to enhance the patient experience.
New windows have already been fitted to these buildings. The space freed up at Worthing Hospital will doubtless be used for more patient services at this ever-expanding facility.
To enable the use of the Harness Block for community beds would mean the building becoming the responsibility of the Sussex Community NHS Trust. Where would they find the finances to pay for the capital cost of taking it over, and then the money required to bring it up to standard (the boiler house was demolished a while ago), and eventually staff it?
In any event, the block is far too large for it to be economically viable for this use. Indeed, there are 20 beds in their Salvington Lodge premises that are closed at present, so for that trust to take over Southlands is far removed from reality.
Western Sussex, along with all other NHS trusts, was tasked to identify under-used assets with a view to disposal. This is exactly what is happening, thereby releasing a brownfield site for a mixed development of homes, which are desperately needed in Adur district.
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