Lo­cal Plan ‘the key’ to fu­ture of hos­pi­tal

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Front Page - BY JAMIE LOPEZ jamie.lopez@reach­plc.com @jamie_lopez1

THE in­tro­duc­tion of a pro­posed Lo­cal Plan could strengthen the case for keep­ing Orm­skirk Hos­pi­tal, a coun­cil leader claims.

A re­cent re­port by health bosses raised the pos­si­bil­ity of clos­ing the hos­pi­tals in South­port and Orm­skirk and re­plac­ing them with one site be­tween the two towns.

The re­port ac­knowl­edged that fund­ing for such a plan was un­likely and sug­gested down­grad­ing ei­ther South­port Hos­pi­tal or Orm­skirk Hos­pi­tal and mov­ing vi­tal ser­vices such as A&E and ma­ter­nity care to one site.

The plans led to an an­gry re­sponse from res­i­dents and politi­cians in both towns and West Lancs MP Rosie Cooper later asked the Prime Min­is­ter whether an ex­pan­sion of Orm­skirk Hos­pi­tal should be con­sid­ered be­fore build­ing a new one.

West Lan­cashire Bor­ough Coun­cil leader Ian Moran sug­gested the long-term plan­ning of the pro­posed Lo­cal Plan, which would run un­til 2050, could strengthen the case for main­tain­ing health ser­vices lo­cally.

He said: “The thing about this plan is it’s about de­vel­op­ing the bor­ough for the fu­ture, for the chil­dren, for the peo­ple who live here.

“It’s about se­cur­ing that train sta­tion (in Skelmers­dale) and also what’s be­come more and more ap­par­ent over the last few months is the hos­pi­tal and this lit­tle tug of war we’ve got go­ing on with South­port.

“It’s about se­cur­ing the hos­pi­tal in Orm­skirk. These plans here, the au­thor­i­ties and the CCG will be look­ing at and these make up some of the fig­ures they’re look­ing at. For their vi­a­bil­ity, what’s the best place to have a hos­pi­tal? Is it to have it fur­ther away from Orm­skirk to­wards South­port? With this sort of thing that’s go­ing on here, we need to en­hance the cam­pus in Orm­skirk or make the cam­pus some­where else in West Lan­cashire, but more cen­tral.

“These all add to it, it’s not just about build­ing houses, it’s a much big­ger pic­ture.”

A six-week con­sul­ta­tion is be­ing launched next month ask­ing peo­ple for their views on the Lo­cal Plan, seen as the blue­print for the bor­ough be­tween now and 2050.

The plan calls for al­most 16,000 new homes be­ing built, many of them in three new “gar­den vil­lages” in Skelmers­dale, but the coun­cil says the scheme is about much more than homes and can se­cure a pos­i­tive fu­ture for the bor­ough.

Among the pro­pos­als listed are plans to cre­ate 180ha (445 acres) of em­ploy­ment space, in­clud­ing ware­hous­ing space near Skelmers­dale to make the best use of the mo­tor­way links, and a “knowl­edge park” in Orm­skirk to link busi­nesses with the work be­ing done at Edge Hill Uni­ver­sity, to at­tract high-value com­pa­nies and en­able grad­u­ates to stay in West Lan­cashire,

Ded­i­cated stu­dent hous­ing would also be built in Orm­skirk, with space for 1,000 peo­ple, with the in­ten­tion of re­duc­ing the need for tra­di­tional hous­ing to be con­verted to HMOs.

The plan will be the sub­ject of a six-week con­sul­ta­tion ex­er­cise start­ing next month, and, as part of that process, the coun­cil will be hold­ing a series of drop-in events at which of­fi­cers will be avail­able by ap­point­ment to ex­plain the pro­pos­als and an­swer ques­tions.

Orm­skirk Hos­pi­tal and, in­set, West Lancs coun­cil leader Cllr Ian Moran

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