SUPPORTERS of Ludlow Hospital are calling on locals to object to plans for the town's former maternity unit. 

The League of Friends of Ludlow Hospital is calling on people in the community to join them in opposing both a planning application as well as an application for an alcohol license on the buildings of the former maternity unit, which stands on the hospital site.

The unit was sold off by the NHS in 2017, and given permission to be converted for use as small private business premises.

The league said the current owners have now submitted further separate applications to Shropshire Council for uses including permission for both daytime and evening mixed business and hospitality use, including the playing of music, and showing of films, while another application is for a licence for the sale and consumption of alcohol on and off the premises.

"The buildings stand within just a few feet of the main hospital ward where many elderly patients are accommodated," a spokesperson for the group said.

"They are also close an end-of-life suite."

Joint chairs of the League of Friends, Michael Evans and Jennifer Gill, said staff at the hospital greatly fear the potential disturbances having damaging effects on patients as well as their visiting families.

“No hospital should ever have alcohol available and be consumed in or near both its own buildings or those adjacent to it,” said Mr Evans. 

“This would be against all principles of health care, while some of the inpatients can be those recovering from alcohol-induced illnesses”

Mrs Gill said there were also concerns about inadequate car parking and ambulance manoeuvring space.

“There are already insufficient car spaces during both day and night times for hospital staff, outpatients and visiting families of inpatients," she said. 

"If these applications are given permission there would be chaos with so many vehicles needing parking space."

Mrs Gill said that very few streets surrounding the hospital have adequate car parking, which already makes life difficult for staff, especially at night time.

The trustees said that both nursing staff as well as management at the hospital have said how very worried they are about the proposals and that they fear for the well-being of the patients as well as the hospital being able to run efficiently.

"The two formal applications to the county council only came to light during the recent Christmas period giving very short time for objections to be sent in," the spokesperson said.

The League of Friends has called on local people to support their objections to Shropshire Council and said members fear that if the other vacant building on the site was to be sold by the NHS for similar uses, it could mean the end of the community hospital.