Concerns about the cost of homes for key workers and unwell people climbing up a hill to reach a proposed health hub at the steep Brighton General Hospital site have been raised by councillors.
The health hub, planned for the current ambulance station site in Elm Grove, would include a GP surgery and pharmacy, along with existing services for mental health, podiatry and early parenting.
Labour councillor Kevin Allen asked about a bus service to the site and said: “It is not a natural place for a GP service because it is on a hill.”
Fellow Labour councillor Mo Marsh said: “It is a real concern for residents of Queen’s Park who are currently served by a surgery that is a five-minute flat walk away.
“Elm Grove has no bus service so there needs to be robust discussions with the bus company.”
Mike Jennings, director of finance and estates at Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, which owns the Brighton General site, said that the trust planned to discuss the need for a frequent service with bus operators.
Councillor Allen also told a Brighton and Hove City Council committee that he was concerned that the homeless service was listed as among those moving to the site.
Mr Jennings told the council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee that the clinic for homeless people would remain in Morley Street.
But new premises are planned at the Elm Grove site for the Sussex Rehabilitation Centre which provides assessment, treatment and advice for people with neurological conditions.
And the trust is likely to include a replacement headquarters building in its plans.
The trust is presenting a business case for its plans to NHS chiefs. The business case proposes selling much of the land for housing, including the listed Victorian workhouse building, to fund the building of the proposed health hub.
Labour councillor Adrian Morris shared his concerns about the cost of homes on the site, which is proposed as key worker housing.
Councillor Morris said: “Affordable and key worker housing is not affordable as they are sharing homes so they can afford it.
“Even at that level it is not totally affordable.”
Mr Jennings told the meeting at Hove Town Hall this afternoon (Wednesday 23 January) that the trust had not identified a developer to establish the cost to key workers.
Conservative councillor Ken Norman, who chairs the committee, asked about listed buildings on the site.
Mr Jennings said that along with the listed workhouse building, there were other buildings on the site and the flint walls which had heritage value.
The ambulance station would go to make way for the health hub. South East Coast Ambulance Service was expected to build a new base, described as a “make-ready centre”, next to The Keep archive and records centre, in Falmer.
A planning application is expected to be submitted to the council by late spring.