NHS Gloucestershire has identified the Littlecombe south site at Dursley for the relocation of Berkeley hospital. Heads of terms for the site are to be agreed by the end of October and the project is expected to be completed in 2011-12, with services transferring to the new hospital in spring 2012. It has been suggested in initial discussions that the existing site should be used for mixed residential and retail purposes.
I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that response, and it is good to hear that a site has been identified. Does he agree that we need to make rapid progress on this excellent project, and that it is essential to ring-fence its funding to make sure that it goes forward? Will he allow me to discuss with local people how the existing Berkeley site could be used most appropriately?
Obviously, the use of the existing site is a matter for local decision, and I have no doubt that my hon. Friend will be involved in that. As for the project’s funding, it has been allocated from the community hospitals programme already and I understand that it is secure.