A PLAN for a new health centre in Thornbury has been scaled back after high inflation and long delays have cut the budget.

Last year the government finally promised to fund the £14 million for refurbishing the former Thornbury Hospital, but that cash won’t “stretch as far” as first hoped.

Thornbury Hospital closed in 2019 and has been left empty since then.

Now the plans involve building 75 extra care apartments for the elderly, and a health centre with space for two GP surgeries on site, for existing practices to relocate from elsewhere in the town.

The original plans involve three GP surgeries, but this has been scaled back by health bosses who asked for the same amount of funding before the pandemic.

An update was given to the health scrutiny committee at South Gloucestershire Council yesterday, Wednesday, April 10.

Tim James, head of strategic estates at the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board, said: “It’s obviously a project that’s been bubbling up for a long time.

"Thornbury is a priority for us, but the particular need for investment is not as high as in deprived areas like Weston-super-Mare or South Bristol.

“There was political interest in Thornbury in the run up to the 2019 election, and that resulted in the Department for Health identifying £14 million that could be allocated to the project, and we submitted an application for that.

"But that coincided with Covid happening, which took away all the capital funding nationally from those kinds of projects.

“We never received an answer on whether the project could progress or not.

"We certainly pursued an answer, but one was never forthcoming — until last summer, when the Department for Health wrote to us for an update on where the project was.

"They indicated the funding may be available now.”

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Plans to redevelop the hospital stretch back many years.

The council bought the site in January 2022, and would continue to own the building after the refurbishment.

A public consultation is planned for this July, but construction work won’t start until at least next February, when health bosses plan to submit the final business case for the project to NHS England.

The government has promised to provide the original budget of £14 million.

But due to recent high inflation, that amount of money will get much less than when first requested, as everything is more expensive now. And that promise of money could even disappear next year.

Mr James added: “It’s fantastic news, but not without challenges.

"The budget is not going to stretch as far as we had originally hoped. We also don’t have a guarantee the funding will be available beyond [March 2025].”