WHAT will happen to the Westbury Hospital site once the new primary care development in Leigh Park is built? That is the question being asked as the hospital site is due to be sold once the new primary care development is open.
Local residents have raised the question of who will benefit from the sale, in light of their belief that the land was gifted to the town before the NHS was even created.
Eddie Bridges, local resident and president of the Westbury branch of the Royal British Legion, has proposed that a public meeting be held in the town, in conjunction with local groups, to address the future of the site.
He suggests that Westbury Town Council, Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire Primary Care Trust, Eastleigh Surgery, local community groups and local MP Andrew Murrison should be invited to a public meeting.
Eddie Bridges said, “The piece of land was given as a gift to the townspeople years ago. Then, as I understand it, they had some form of referendum and decided to build a hospital and had money taken out of their wages to help pay for it, so that money belongs to the townspeople.
“I know the NHS came along, but whichever way you look at it, if it stops being used, what was taken into public use reverts to the original owners.
“I saw a letter that the health authority had put out which said once the new medical centre is up and going it will be sold. To whom and by whom?”
NHS Wiltshire have confirmed that all the services currently provided at Westbury Hospital and Eastleigh Surgery will remain in place until the new Primary Care Development is ready at Westbury Leigh next year. Both the old sites will then be sold.
There are no plans to begin marketing the sites at any stage before the transfer of services is complete. NHS Wiltshire say they will report any contract for the sale or lease of Westbury Hospital site as a matter of public record in the usual way, which is through the Register of Sealings in its public Board Meetings.
At a public meeting held to discuss the new health centre last year, residents were told that once the site had been vacated, the money saved will be reinvested into NHS services.