Building work started in June on a new £4.8m Health and Wellbeing Centre in Dartmouth. The centre is due to open in late Summer 2022, and part of the money to pay for it will come from the sale or re-development of the former Dartmouth and Kingswear Cottage Hospital site, which closed in 2017.
Councillors from Dartmouth Town Council and senior leaders from Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust are working together to explore the feasibility of a community bid for the site. Working in partnership with other local stakeholders, Dartmouth Town Council would like to buy the site and manage how it is developed, so that both the local economy and the local community benefit.
Adrien Cooper, Interim Director of Environment at Torbay and South Devon said: “As an NHS organisation, we are required to achieve open market value for any property sale. We appreciate the significance of this prime, waterfront site for the town and are very keen to support a community bid, if we can, because it would give local people a real say in how the site could be developed in future. We have also offered to work with the town council to seek local people’s views if they decide to progress with a community bid.”
Councillor Ged Yardy, Chair of Health and Wellbeing Working Group at Dartmouth Town Council added: “The Town Council is very keen to put forward a community bid for the site, and is in detailed discussions with the Trust and possible partners about what this would involve and how to make it happen. We have to be realistic about what can be achieved, of course. There would need to be some commercial development, as this would help to fund the community aspect of any development on the site. We will report back to our residents as soon as we have a clearer picture of what we may be able to achieve.”
If the Town Council is unable to secure funding to support a community bid for the site, the Trust will advertise it for sale on the open market during 2022 in order to honour its commitment to make a significant financial contribution to the Dartmouth Health and Wellbeing Centre, which is currently under construction.
The details of a community bid will need to be developed in time for consideration by the Trust Board Meeting in January 2022.
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