Wiltshire Publications

Westbury is owed a voice say hospital campaigners

SENSIBLE Thinking on Patients (STOP) will be holding a big public meeting from 7pm at the Laverton on Wednesday 28th October, as they continue to rally support to save the hospital buildings.

The meeting has been arranged as the group expect a planning application to be submitted soon for the site. Campaigners will be taking to Westbury town centre on Saturday 24th October to also promote their cause and advertise the meeting.

On behalf of the STOP campaign, Erica Watson said, “The Westbury people feel passionately that we are owed the opportunity for our voice to be heard, after donating over  £1million to the hospital which was built on land donated to the town.

“We have followed all the advice given both from national and local government to get involved in local matters and we feel that there is a strong moral duty to allow all of you a voice now.”

Mike Sutton, Westbury town councillor, will chair the meeting and all the Westbury town councillors and mayor have been invited, as well as Wiltshire Council’s directors of planning, health & social care, and highways & transport, who have all received personal invitations to attend and listen to people’s comments and concerns.

A press release from the STOP group reads, “This meeting will be your opportunity to voice any concerns about the proposal, which NHS Property Services say they will put forward to Wiltshire Council shortly. They had planned to submit plans this summer for up to 63 houses to be built on the site and have promised to keep us informed. We wonder if the delay is related to the settlement boundary, which at present only allows a percentage of the site to be developed.

“At the meeting there will be a copy of a letter for you to send to Wiltshire Council once the plans have been submitted. If you feel as strongly, as STOP do, that at least part of the hospital site should be put aside for community use and that Westbury really cannot support an increase in its population without an increase in health care services, then please take a copy of the letter home with you, ready to send in when plans are submitted.

“Our MP Andrew Murrison has attended several of our committee meetings and has been hugely supportive of our aims of retaining the site for community use. He recently put forward a notion that Wiltshire Council may consider retaining some of the site or land for future health care use for the town. He states that although there has been no interest from any private provider this year he feels that this could change in the near future and so forming a trust to retain the land may be worth considering – he feels that STOP and the Westbury community should insist on retaining 30% of the land for the anticipated future health care use for the town.

“Almost every day we hear that our NHS is approaching crisis and it seems only sensible that our town takes the lead in fighting to retain a site, which could then be utilised to provide the extra care, which will certainly be needed. Remember that our town donated over £1million to maintain it – we are owed a say in its future.

“STOP hope that setting up a trust including all interested parties representing local opinion will be a positive way forward to achieving our aim of retaining health care provision on the site.

“This meeting will give you an opportunity to ask your councillors to support forming a Trust for the town.

“There will be a short film outlining our work showing before the meeting starts at 7pm and we look forward to welcoming you all.”