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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice.

Building Better Lives - Purbeck scheme

Dorset Council is working in partnership with Dorset Healthcare and Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to develop a scheme for new health, care and housing facilities on various sites across Purbeck.

Across the area, many people have been involved already in discussing different options for the use of council and NHS land. The most prominent of which is the former Wareham Middle School site. 

The options include how we can provide the following:

  • health and GP services within a new health hub. The hub will host all the services currently available at Wareham Hospital as well as a GP practice, and will provide the opportunity to develop additional clinics and services
  • extra care housing – the homes are specifically designed to enable people with support needs, problems getting about and increasing frailty to continue to live as independently as possible for as long as they want to
  • supported living housing - offering care for working-age adults with disabilities
  • a range of affordable housing available to rent to those working in health and care in Purbeck
  • a new nursing home and local community facilities
  • recreational areas

One proposal also offers potential solutions to some of the local traffic issues around the school.

High quality temporary housing units will be installed on the old middle school site for the first stage of the scheme. This will be available to local people with learning disabilities who are currently living in accommodation which doesn’t suit their needs, while more permanent properties are being built on site.

There are three options for the scheme currently under consideration. These are only feasibility options at the moment and more detailed plans will be drawn up and consulted on as part of the formal planning process. 

Throughout August, Dorset Council and the NHS have held some informal public drop-in events, a chance for people to come along and find out more and share their views on the initial options.

Option 1

  • health hub and GP surgery
  • development of 72 homes. Of this total, 64 have been modelled as extra care housing for older people and some supported living for working-age adults with disabilities. A further 8 units have been modelled as affordable housing which could be for keyworkers
  • accommodation for the nursery could be provided alongside the school or within the children’s centre as part of a ‘children’s hub’
  • the design leaves room for Wareham St Mary to expand should this be required in future

Wareham Middle School Site - Option 1- at A3 (002)


Option 1b

This is an evolution of Option 1.

Instead of the Extra-care housing, this option includes a 69-bed nursing care home and 20 homes for supported living for working-age adults with disabilities and affordable housing.

It also considers how some of the concerns around parking can be met and could potentially improve the associated facilities for the current school playing field.

This still allows for the development of the current GP surgery and health hub design.

Accommodation for the nursery could be provided alongside the Primary School, within the Children’s Centre as part of a Children’s Hub, or within the nursing care home building.

Providing a nursing care home fit for the future on this site would replace the Residential Care service currently located at Anglebury Court, and we would need to use this land at Bonnets Lane to deliver our housing aspirations. Between Option 1 and Option 1B there is no net loss of housing units in Wareham, but the location and design of these would change. More work is being done to show how this site could be developed, which will be shared soon.

Wareham Middle School Site - Option 1b - at A3 (002) 

 Option 2 - no longer being pursued

Following the engagement events in August 2019 and discussions with Wareham Town Council, Option 2 is no longer being pursued and the recreation ground will remain as is, under the management of the Town Council. To be transparent, we have left left this option on this page to show all the options that were consulted on. 

  • everything offered by Option 1, plus
  • unified sports and recreation facilities incorporating a new Sports Pavilion and additional parking for the Pavilion, school drop-off, and overflow parking for the health hub
  • improved pedestrian and cycle access from Westgate
  • a new road linking Monmouth Road and Worgret Road to alleviate pressure on Streche Road incorporating road-side parking bays
  • development of a further 32 homes, the majority of which could be delivered at social or affordable rents

Wareham Middle School Site - Option 2 - at A3 (002)

To put these options into context, below is a map showing current sites owned by Dorset Council and the NHS which could, in turn, form part of any future developments.

Wareham Sites Ownership Plan at A2

Why are we doing this?

  • the health hub will integrate services currently provided from Wareham hospital with the town’s GP practice, creating a more seamless ‘one-stop shop’ for local residents
  • Purbeck and Wareham in particular currently lack sufficient social care accommodation for frail older people and people with disabilities. There is currently one residential care home in Wareham and the nearest extra care housing is over 15 miles away in Blandford Forum. New extra care housing in Wareham will fill this gap now and in future, and enable people to live independent lives for longer
  • there are currently limited options to enable younger adults with disabilities to move from home when they want to or to return to the local area after they have been admitted to hospital. The extra care and supported living housing will enable people to play an active role in the local community if they wish to and to live more independent lives
  • there is currently a lack of affordable housing in the Wareham area for people in keyworker roles such as nurses and social carers. The scheme would address this

Planning permission will be sought towards the end of 2019, with work to begin on site and a public meeting planned for spring 2020. It is anticipated that the first phase of work will complete towards late 2021. Here is an indication of the proposed timeline.

Purbeck Gateway timeline

Update as at 18 March 2020

As plans for our exciting Purbeck Gateway developments in Wareham take shape, we’ve put together a brief report on progress and next steps. In August 2019 Dorset Council, NHS Dorset Healthcare, and NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group held a number of sessions in Wareham to meet with members of the public, share design concepts, and gather thoughts. This report gives a summary of what people told us, and what we have been working on over the last six months. 

In light of the Covid19 pandemic we have decided to cancel the four Public Engagement Events planned for:

  • 21 March 2020, 10am, Westport House
  • 24 March 2020, 1:30pm, Wareham Town Hall
  • 31 March 2020, 5:30pm, Wareham Town Hall
  • 2 April 2020, 9:30am, Wareham Town Hall

We are still planning to share information and gather feedback from members of the public, and primarily will do this through this webpage. Alternative ways of giving feedback will also be shared for people who aren’t comfortable using the internet to give their feedback.

Why is there not enough parking available on these plans?

The drawings that are available at the moment are early concepts only. Planning policy will drive the number of parking spaces that we need to provide and will make sure there will be enough. Detailed plans, showing the exact number of parking spaces will be drawn up and consulted on as part of the formal planning process. All options offer flexible use of parking spaces that can be used for different purposes at various times of day, depending on need. We don’t see there being any further impact on surrounding residential streets.

Why are the offices not part of this? Original plans showed that the offices would be part of the health hub, giving us a truly integrated set of services?

Integrated Services are not based on office location. The use of technology and smarter, more flexible working means that the services people receive are not be affected by where the offices are located. We always need to balance the costs of developing the office accommodation against office space already available in the town, and make sure that we get best value for public money. We are still considering whether new office space can be included within this development, if needed.

Why does the GP surgery and health hub look so small?

The building footprint is based upon the designs provided to us by Dorset HealthCare and reflect the requirements to house the services provided.

Will the two memorial trees planted on the existing land be kept?

We are aware there are two memorial trees on the site. Any trees that can be retained, will be. We will liaise with the families to agree a suitable plan.

Why have there not been more 'public' events to find out about the scheme?

We have been working with land owners, the NHS, Wareham Town Council, the Primary School, Nursery, Friends of Wareham Hospital, the GP Practice and other groups using the current facilities. During the elections period for both Dorset Council and the Town Council, we were not allowed to talk publicly about the options. We are now holding public drop-in sessions throughout August and formal consultation will be part of the planning process.

Who will be moving into the new 'affordable' housing that's planned?

Some affordable housing will be for key workers – people who work in the social care and health professions in the Purbeck area and some will be for people in the local area who struggle to afford to live here. A Local Lettings plan will be developed and will determine who is eligible to occupy these properties.

When is this all going to happen?

We’re looking to submit a formal planning application in December 2019. Formal consultation will take place as part of the planning process. We already have planning permission for the relocatable housing and those units will likely be on site in the autumn. Please see timeline above.

We'll be updating these pages as more details become available, but if you have any queries, you can give us feedback.


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