To be sent to:
Chris Balch TSDNHSFT Non-Executive Director for Engagement firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Davenport TSDNHSFT Chief Executive email@example.com
Richard Ibbotson TSDNHSFT Chairman firstname.lastname@example.org
Anthony Mangnall MP email@example.com
To whom it may concern:
The news that at last the ground has been broken on the building site of the new Health and Wellbeing Centre (HWC) for Dartmouth and its surrounding villages is very welcome for the local community. However, it is with dismay that following coverage in the local press and through Dartmouth Town Council (DTC) website, I/we note that there is now growing controversy surrounding the future use and disposal of the old hospital site.
The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to highlight the very real areas of concern confronting the people of Dartmouth and its environs. The feelings surrounding the closure of the hospital and the subsequent loss of services to the town are well documented and do not need further expression here, however, the very serious questions arising from the proposals which have been publicised so far do need to be raised.
I/we would like to draw your attention to the following points, which I/we believe need to be addressed in a swift and positive manner:
- There must be a rigorous and timely consultation process which involves and takes note of the opinions and initiatives put forward by local people. The proposed timescale of consultation put forward by Torbay and South Devon Foundation Trust (TSDFT) is woefully short, seems designed to limit public engagement and is due to take place at an inappropriate time of year for a busy tourist location. This is not true engagement with the public.
- The existence of the covenant on part of the old hospital must not be ignored, legally removed or otherwise circumnavigated. The people of Dartmouth deserve better from the bodies which exist to serve the needs of the people, especially as that part of the site was gifted to the NHS on its inception by the local population for hospital use.
- There should be a real desire by all concerned to use this site in a manner which genuinely benefits the community and addresses its needs. For example, there is a desperate need to provide affordable housing for key workers and people who live and work locally on Dartmouth salaries. What the town does not need is even more vastly expensive second homes. We need to grow our community, not work towards its demise.
- Working together, we have the chance to create something quite special which benefits the town and its people and also allows the NHS to recoup some of the costs of the new HWC. However, if the Trust insists on ignoring true engagement with the public, the upheaval which will follow will benefit no one and will also cause immeasurable harm and loss of trust moving forward.
I/we therefore urge you to take good note of all that is written here and work with us to arrive at a solution which benefits all involved.