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'Find a new hospital site'

The site of the proposed hospital
The site of the proposed hospital

Health authorities are being urged to find another site for Dover’s proposed community hospital.

The warning comes from the Environment Agency, which says flooding on the proposed site, next to the health centre in Maison Dieu Road, could be a problem.

Unless these potential problems can be overcome, the plans may have to be turned down.

Susan Cleary, the agency’s planning liaison officer, said the site had been flooded in the past and while the agency had told the district council that the regeneration could be considered acceptable in principle, alternative sites should be considered in preference to this one “owing to the high degree of flood risk”.

Problems which have been highlighted include the fact that the wall alongside the River Dour is not continuous and therefore does not provide complete protection to either bank.

“It is worth noting a number of the existing college buildings have raised floor levels to reduce the risk of internal flooding,” said Miss Cleary.

“This suggests flooding from the River Dour was known to be a risk when these buildings were designed and built during the 1970s.”

As health care facilities such as a hospital are regarded as more vulnerable, the site would have to pass both a Sequential Test and an Exception Test before planning consent could be given.

To provide safe access would require better drains for a large part of Dover. Even then the drains were still likely to surcharge when river levels rose. It would not be possible to provide an effective flood warning service in Dover.

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