A protest was held at Brighton General Hospital on Thursday (January 31) by a local action group opposing plans to develop part of the site.
Around 25 people from Sussex Defend the NHS, the Brighton and Hove Housing Coalition, Save Whitehawk Hill and the GMB union, as well as Green councillor David Gibson, picketed a meeting of the Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, which owns the 10-acre hospital site.
They were calling on the Trust to keep the site in public ownership, and for it to be used as public social housing at social rents, and for retained NHS uses.
Cllr Gibson said: “The campaign is vitally important because public land is so scarce and this General Hospital site is a huge resource.
“We have a terrible homelessness crisis in the city, there’s a shortage of truly affordable housing, so what we’re saying is that when the site is developed health needs need to be met first, as a top priority, but any spare land should be used for truly affordable housing and the most affordable housing is social housing.”
Alongside the new plans for new housing, Sussex Community NHS Trust plans to build a new health hub, GP surgery and pharmacy.
A spokesperson for Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust said: “We want to redevelop the Brighton General site so that people can benefit from a purpose-built community health hub, making sure that the NHS continues to meet the changing needs of the local community.
“The current layout of the site is not suitable for modern healthcare but releasing part of it for housing will generate much needed investment and help secure local NHS services for future generations.”
Brighton General Hospital Action Group is concerned about health, social care, and housing needs not being met by the site.
Katie, a transport planning MA student, said: “Quite a lot of social housing is just put on spare land because we’re desperate for the space but this site here has excellent bus routes on it which is perfect for people who are going to live here, and it’s often missed out of transport planning.”
For more information on the group, contact email@example.com.