NEW plans to redevelop the site of Chesham's former hospital to create a nursing unit have been submitted.

A previous bid to create a nursing and rehabilitation centre was turned down in 2008 because of its “unacceptable” visual impact and intrusion on neighbours.

Those plans would have comprised 128 beds in a building up to seven storeys high.

But new plans submitted to Chiltern District Council are for a smaller 80-bed unit between two and five storeys tall, with improved access and car parking.

Among the services which could be provided at the new building, in Hospital Hill, are physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy and psychotherapy, as well as long-term rehabilitation units.

Chesham Hospital closed in 2004.

The town's Mayor, Cllr Justine Fulford, welcomed the idea behind the proposed care home – but said it was crucial planners got the scheme right.

She said: “The principle of a care home seems to be sensible. It's about getting it all right. It's a very tight site and very prominent on the skyline.

“The parking was a great concern to the residents and I hope they have addressed that this time.”

Cllr Noel Brown, a Chesham town councillor and Chiltern District Council's cabinet member for health, said: “It's an ideal use of that site when we've got a shortage of units. I think there would be a lot of support for it.”

Cllr Brown also spoke of his frustration of delays into the building of Chesham's new Healthzone, which was due to replace the old hospital.

Work was set to start four months ago at the site, in Berkhampstead Road, but it was revealed this week it has been put back by another month as a crucial contract has not yet been signed.

Cllr Brown said: “They are cutting services at Amersham Hospital on the basis they can be created locally but we don't have that facility locally at the moment.

“I'm amazed they haven't given it a higher priority to make sure it's on the way. That's my biggest annoyance, that it doesn't have that priority to get that work done.”

The care unit plans, which have been submitted by Chesham Care Ltd, will be considered by the council in July.