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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New health centre could cost millions more than planned claim campaigners

* Accessing the River Lodge site could add millions to the cost of building a new health centre, claim campaigners. 

Providing a new health centre to replace closure-threatened Llangollen Cottage Hospital will cost millions of pounds more than the health board’s current estimate.
That is the claim of the campaign group battling to keep health services in the town if the hospital shuts down as proposed by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB).
Last Saturday members of the group Keep Llangollen Health Services lobbied politicians going into the annual food festival at the Pavilion and claimed to have gained support from all the area’s four Assembly Members for their aim of keeping the hospital open until its replacement is up and running.
Other protests are now planned, says the group.
Most likely location for the new health centre is the site of the derelict River Lodge in Mill Street.
A researcher from the group who has been checking into concerns about its access off the busy A539 road said: “We know that Mill Street, where the A road from Trefor is too narrow to be an A road and becomes a B road for a short distance, will have to be widened to comply with planning law for the River Lodge redevelopment as a new Health Centre, and that will involve compulsory purchase of a number of large building such as the Upper Dee Mill, adding around £2m-£3m to the estimated £5.5m cost of building the Hospital’s replacement.
“This does not look like value for money, and represents a downgrading – or elimination – of vital local health services.”
Using a Land Registry search, the group has also been trying to clear up confusion over the ownership of the Cottage Hospital building.
And its researcher claims:  “Betsi Cadwaladr has title to the hospital, Dol Afon [the large Victorian house adjacent currently on the market], and the small car park almost opposite.
“Consequently, reversion to the Vivod Estate won’t happen, as there’s no covenant on the hospital, despite the rumours.
“We also have no guarantee that when these assets are sold, the money will benefit the town, so it will probably go into BCUHB’s general pool.”
The group now has its own Facebook page at Save Llangollen Hospital Beds and a website at

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