PLANS to demolish Hoylake’s original Cottage Hospital building and replace it with a new day centre have been put on hold, the News can reveal.
The board of trustees at the Birkenhead Road nursing centre for older people has “reluctantly” decided their original goal of raising £2m to build the new facility is not achievable in the current economic climate.
Planning permission for the building was granted by Wirral Council in 2009 but this recently expired.
The original deadline for the new centre was 2012 but this has now been extended indefinitely – although building it remains a long-term aim.
Remaining funds raised to date will be spent on the Victorian Cottage Hospital building to improve facilities for people using the two services based there, Cottage’s Day Centre and Sandhills Specialist Dementia Day Unit.
Recent successful fundraising – backed by high-profile supporters Rafa and Montse Benitez – has already enabled the building of an extension to the Southworth House building, housing a new kitchen, laundry and office block.
A new sensory garden is also being built for residents and their families.
Chairman of trustees Tony Twemlow, said: “The trustees have had to face up to the harsh reality that it will simply not be possible to press ahead with our vision of a new centre for day care in the foreseeable future.
“However we are determined that our day care services will continue and we are concentrating our efforts on improving the facilities within the existing building.
“We are extremely grateful to all our staff, volunteers and everyone in the local community who has supported Hoylake Cottage over the decades and enabled us to care for our residents and clients.
“Without this support, Hoylake Cottage would have closed 30 years ago.”
Hoylake Cottage closed as an NHS hospital in 1983 but support from the community kept it open as a centre for older people.
Nursing care moved from the original building to the adjoining £3.25m 62-bed Southworth House in 2008.
It had been hoped a new day care centre would follow soon after but chief executive Lin Cooke said there was still plenty to be proud of.
She said: “It’s a minor setback but we’ve been able to move the nursing home from a 100-year-old building to one that looks like a five star hotel with new kitchen and laundry facilities.
“Until the economic climate improves we really don’t know when the day care centre will be built but we’re still moving forward and fundraising.
“Local people are very committed to the place and supportive of what we do and we really want to say thank you.
“Our objective remains the same.”