COUNCILLORS have given a muted welcome to long-awaited plans to revive Thornbury Health Centre but say they are “perturbed” they have been scaled down so much.

South Gloucestershire Council cabinet endorsed local NHS bosses finalising and submitting detailed proposals to redevelop the former hospital site following 30 years of setbacks and false starts.

But they were told that the long delays and high inflation mean the £14million finally promised by the government for the project in 2023 “may only be sufficient to provide replacement health facilities rather than an expanded range of medical related service”.

It is a far cry from previous iterations of the refurbishment of the former Thornbury Hospital when the intention just a few years ago was to provide three GP surgeries, hospital beds, care home beds, extra care, rehabilitation services and retaining an outpatients unit.

Now, though, there will be just two GP surgeries – both of which would be existing practices relocating from elsewhere in the town – and 75 extra care beds for the elderly.

Thornbury Hospital has been empty since shutting in 2019, and the council bought the site from North Bristol NHS Trust in January 2022 to kickstart the redevelopment.

Cllr Tony Williams (Lib Dem, Severn Vale) told the cabinet meeting on Monday, April 15: “I am most disturbed to see that it has taken so long for us to make improvements to Thornbury Health Centre.

“Thank goodness we are now able to move it a little bit closer, however, I am still perturbed we are not going to have a full hospital site there that was originally promised and I would urge the cabinet member not to close this idea of expanding it at a future date.”

Gazette Series: Thornbury Health Centre

Cabinet member for corporate resources Cllr Adam Monk (Labour, Filton) said: “We are taking the lead from the [Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire] Integrated Care Board (ICB) as to what is required but we are focused on achieving the best possible outcome for the area.

“We are moving this forward. We as a cabinet are focused on getting this across the line.”

Ward councillor and cabinet member for children and young people Cllr Maggie Tyrrell (Lib Dem, Thornbury) said: “We’ve been waiting for progress with this for so many years.

“It’s very good news that it looks as if we’re finally going to make some progress – not maybe the progress we were hoping for some years ago but the replacement of the health centre is at least an advance and we welcome it very much.”

Cllr Matthew Riddle said (Conservative, Severn Vale) said: “When Frenchay Hospital was closed it was done on the back that Thornbury was promised healthcare facilities, so I’m very keen that we get this over the line now because we’ve been waiting far too long for improvements.”

Cabinet member for adults and homes Cllr John O’Neill (Lib Dem, Charfield) said: “It’s important that we move this forward and get this on the ground as soon as possible.”

A public consultation is planned for July, although building work will not start until at least February 2025 after the ICB has submitted the final business case to NHS England.