New mental health hospital for Bexhill

A major programme to transform mental health inpatient services in East Sussex

New Hospital in East Sussex

We are building a new 54-bed hospital for adults and older people with mental health conditions on a site off Mount View Street, North East Bexhill.

The hospital will replace the outdated inpatient services currently provided in the Department of Psychiatry at Eastbourne District General Hospital and will be completed by the end of March 2024, beginning of 2025.

It will:

  • remove outdated dormitory accommodation, replacing the shared wards with individual bedrooms, each with ensuite bathrooms
  • provide a modern and improved therapeutic environment for patients, and
  • create enough capacity to meet future inpatient needs. 
  • This represents the first step in a wider programme aimed at building new modern facilities on a single site which will, in the future, meet all mental health inpatient needs for the people of East Sussex and beyond.

This 'campus'-style approach would enable us to develop a leading centre for mental health services which will mean we can respond as effectively as possible to the changing needs of local people and achieve outstanding outcomes for patients. 

This centre of excellence will also mean we can attract and keep the best staff and offer excellent teaching and research opportunities for our doctors, nurses and other clinicians.

Please click on the links below to find out more or watch a video of how the new hospital will look.

 
Construction starts  Construction complete  Operational Go Live
July 2023 January 2025 March 2025

 

These dates may be subject to change.

Ecological works - October 2022

Towards the end of October, and beginning of November, our ecology experts will be working to make sure wildlife on the Mount View Street site, including badgers and reptiles, are protected during construction.

They will:

  • close what is called a 'subsidiary' badger sett near the site entrance - this means that badgers are encouraged to move back to their alternative setts outside of the site boundary, well away from construction activity
  • installing a fence to stop slow worms, common lizards and grass snakes from entering the site during the build (this will be removed when work finishes).

This work will involve clearing vegetation and a small amount of excavation - all carried out by licensed ecologists and specialist contractors.

CLICK HERE FOR SITE UPDATE 1 ON ECOLOGICAL WORKS:


Building a new mental health hospital in Mount view street, Bexhill-on-sea.

Planning update May 2022

Planning application

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has submitted a formal planning application to Rother District Council to build new hospital facilities with a potential capacity of 126 inpatient beds. These facilities will be built in two phases.

We submitted a detailed planning application for Phase 1 which is to build a 54-bed hospital to replace out-dated services currently based at the Department of Psychiatry in Eastbourne.

At the same time, we submitted outline planning application for Phase 2 which could potentially provide a further 72 beds, depending on funding becoming available.

Details of the planning application can be found on Rother District Council's website: bexhill inpatient mental health facility

The proposals

To remind people, we want to build a new 54-bed hospital for adults and older people with mental health conditions on a site off Mount View Street, North East Bexhill.

It will:

  • remove outdated dormitory accommodation, replacing the shared wards sited in the Department of Psychiatry with individual bedrooms, each with ensuite bathrooms

  • provide a modern and improved therapeutic environment for patients, and

  • create enough capacity to meet future inpatient needs.

This represents the first step in a wider programme aimed at building new modern facilities on a single site which will, in the future, meet all mental health inpatient needs for the people of East Sussex and beyond.

Pre-planning application consultation - a summary

As part of the pre-planning application engagement for these plans, we hosted two public meetings for local residents on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 March 2022.

More than 150 people attended the meetings over the two days. They included people living in and around the site, county, district and town councillors, the local MP, Huw Merriman, as well as a representative from the Bexhill Chamber of Commerce.

Of those who attended, 25 people left completed feedback forms, or posted them after the events. We also received individual letters and emails from residents outside of these meetings which we responded to.

Residents' feedback

Most people either strongly agreed or tended to agree with the plans to build a new mental health hospital on the site (68%).  Most people also either strongly agreed or tended to agree with plans to potentially extend the site in the future to create a campus which could provide all hospital-based mental health services in East Sussex (52%).

While there were few objections to the actual principle of a new mental health hospital on the site, residents did express the following concerns:

  1. Location of secondary access roads.
  2. Use of the amenity area outlined at the rear of properties in St James Avenue.
  3. Traffic levels and how to mitigate any increases.
  4. Location of bus stops.
  5. Drainage and flooding in Bodiam Avenue.
  6. Impact on wildlife and surrounding woodland.
  7. Lighting, CCTV and fencing around the proposed site.

We have addressed these concerns in the formal planning application.

How we have responded to these concerns
  1. Location of secondary access roads
    The suggested secondary site entrances for emergency services access in the event of an emergency, ie St James Avenue and Bodiam Avenue, have been removed from the application so that the most suitable solution can be found at a later date, in consultation with residents and the Highways Authority.
  2. Use of the amenity area outlined at the rear of properties in St James Avenue.
    This area of land, which will be owned by SPFT if planning permission is approved, has been excluded within the final proposed layout.  It was originally shown as an area which can be used for general patient amenity, an example might be to use it for therapy space, such as allotments or a garden area.  This is now not being proposed to be included as part of the scheme proposals. However, we will be liaising with residents backing on to the land about its future use.
  3. Traffic levels and how to mitigate any increases.
    As the facilities will not operate in the same way as a traditional hospital, and the resulting staff, visitor and patient trip profiles, mean that the effect of the proposals on the local transport networks is expected to be negligible in comparison to the original outline planning approval for light industrial use.

    We assessed the impact of the proposals on the local road network, including the Wrestwood Road/Mount View Street signal-controlled junction. We concluded that they will not give rise to road traffic safety issues and will have a negligible impact on the local road network.
  4. Location of bus stops.
    We anticipate that, because of this development and the new housing being built opposite, public transport routes would be introduced, or altered, to provide better access to this area.  Sustainable modes of travel to and from the site, such as public transport, will be encouraged.

    We are in discussion with the Highways Authority, which will be consulted on the proposals. If there is a need for the proposals to make a contribution to the provision of a new bus stop, then this is something which the application can provide for. 

    In the meantime, we have carried out a full transport analysis for the site and have established a transport and travel review group to look at the travel and transport implications of the plans. Further details can be found on the public consultation sussexhealthandcare.uk/mh-eastsussex/
  5. Drainage and flooding in Bodiam Avenue.
    We have developed a Drainage Strategy for the site which has been specifically designed in accordance with local planning guidance to ensure that the proposed development will discharge surface water in line with drainage hierarchy, ie into the ground (infiltration), to a surface water body, eg river,  to a surface water sewer, highway drain, or another drainage system or to a combined sewer.
  6. Impact on wildlife and surrounding woodland.
    Any wildlife, such as badgers or reptiles, will be sensitively relocated, if necessary.  Construction activities will take into account of the need to retain the integrity of site boundaries and not damage any wildlife habitats. 

    Our proposals will ensure the planting of wildlife-friendly flora. Also we will protect the existing trees on site and supplement them with new trees and other planting to form a pleasant zone between the proposed building and neighbouring houses. 
  7. Lighting, CCTV and fencing around the proposed site.
    Lighting will be installed but it will be designed to be discreet and not a light nuisance for neighbouring properties.  Details of the lighting proposals are included in the submitted Design and Access Statement which accompanies the planning application.

    CCTV cameras will be installed internally and externally to ensure a safe and secure environment for patients and staff. These cameras will focus on the hospital site only, and not the wider environment.

    The tallest possible height of the ward garden boundary fences would be approximately 5 metres (17 feet).  This is necessary to maintain patient safety. These are not intended to be high-security style fencing but something which is more appropriate to the nearby residential area.

Full details of how we have responded  to the findings from the pre-planning consultation can be found on the Rother District Council website: bexhill inpatient mental health facility

If you want to contact us directly with any comments, questions or concerns through our dedicated email address: esxccg.eastsussex.mh@nhs.net

Call us on: 0300 304 0330 (local rates apply)

Write to us at:

Freepost RSHG-GEZL-RBBK
Communications
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Trust Headquarters
Arundel Road
Worthing BN13 3EP

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Future events and activities will be posted here when they are announced.

Here the answers to some of the questions we have been asked during consultation on our plans:

Frequently Asked Questions

Ecological works October/November 2022

Towards the end of October, and beginning of November, our ecology experts will be working to make sure wildlife on the Mount View Street site, including badgers and reptiles, are protected during construction.

They will:

  • close what is called a 'subsidiary' badger sett near the site entrance - this means that badgers are encouraged to move back to their alternative setts outside of the site boundary, well away from construction activity, and
  • installing a fence to stop slow worms, common lizards and grass snakes from entering the site during the build (this will be removed when work finishes).

This work will involve clearing vegetation and a small amount of excavation - all carried out by licensed ecologists and specialist contractors.

Our Q&A below should answer any questions you may have:

Q: Who will be carrying out this ecological work?

A: WSP Ecology. https://www.wsp.com/en-au/services/ecology

We regularly undertake ecological surveys and mitigation activities. The badger and reptile mitigation activities will be supervised by suitably experienced ecologists, including the badger sett closure works which will be overseen by a Named Ecologist which Natural England deem to have sufficient experience to oversee such an activity. 

JHD Ecological. https://www.jhdecological.co.uk/home.html

They are a relatively local contractor that supplies and installs tens of thousands of meters of reptile and newt fencing throughout the southeast every year.

The work with badgers is under licence with natural England, and the mitigation plan approved with the planning application has been reviewed and approved by Natural England.

Q: What usually happens to the badgers once their subsidiary sett is blocked?

A: Badgers live in ‘clans’ and they use a number of different setts throughout the year. The sett to be closed is a subsidiary sett, used occasionally by a small number of badgers. Badgers displaced from this sett will make use of the remaining setts available to their clan.

Q: Are there any young badgers affected?

Because the sett closure will take place under licence outside of the typical badger breeding season, young badgers are not expected to be affected by the works

Q: There is one sett on the periphery of the site which will remain. Will any relocated badgers be in conflict with the badgers in this sett?

A: Badgers that were using the subsidiary sett are likely to be part of the same clan as the existing sett to the north of the site, and so we don’t expect these badgers to be forced into conflict. 

Q: What type of reptiles will be relocated as part of this work?

A: Slow worm, common lizard and grass snake.

Q: Are there any endangered species being affected?

A: All species of reptiles and badgers are protected under UK national legislation and, therefore, we are taking appropriate mitigation before we begin construction to make sure reptiles and badgers are not hurt as a result of the development. 

We will also be creating piles of dead wood and logs to mitigate the loss of potential habitat for stag beetles.

Q: How are the reptiles relocated?

A: Ecologists will carry out a sweep of the area to be cleared which involves cutting back vegetation. This is followed by a further sweep and investigation, including turning over soil, if required.

Any reptiles found will be moved by ecologists to an area of safe, suitable habitat outside of the construction area.

Q: How does the reptile fencing work?

A: We will install 500mm high polythene sheeting which will be slightly buried and supported by timber stakes to prevent reptiles entering the site during the build.

Once construction is complete, we will remove the fencing to let the reptiles back on to the site.


Site and building

 

1. Why was this site chosen?

As part of the public consultation, we asked respondents their views on what would be the best site for the new services: Mount View Street or Amberstone Hospital in Hailsham. We made it clear that Mount View Street was our preferred option.
This is because of a number of reasons:

  • It is a key central location between two main centres of Eastbourne and Hastings.

  • Size of the site provides good opportunities for long-term expansion and greater long-term flexibility.

  • Outline planning permission is already in place for the site to be developed for employment, housing and retail.

  • Site enables patients to benefit from local parks and amenities in an established community.

  • There is more space available for therapeutic outdoor spaces.

  • All wards can be on the ground floor for unsupervised outdoor access.

  • Because of this development, and the adjacent housing development, public transport routes might alter and provide better access than Amberstone.

  • Travel to this site would be cheaper for those patients and staff who travel from the most deprived areas, helping improve health inequalities.

  • There is a train station within reasonable walking distance and the site has potential for better car parking for staff and visitors than Amberstone.

2. Who owns the site?

The land is currently owned by Rother District Council who recently bought it from the previous owners, Trinity College, Cambridge. If planning approval is given, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust will buy the land from Rother District Council.

3. Who owns the Plot/3 land and when will this come forward?  What will be delivered here?

This land is currently owned by Rother District Council and has existing planning consent to provide local facilities such as shops, other amenities and additional housing.

4. When will Phase 2 be delivered?

This will depend on funding become available but we would hope that we can start implementation within the next five years or so.

5. How close to the Mount View Street will the hospital buildings be?

The plan at the moment is for one building which will be sited towards the rear of the site. However, as stated earlier, we are also applying for outline planning permission to expand our services at some point in the future which may mean a further building being built nearer to the front edge of the site, bordering the road.

It should be noted that the southern portion of the site is planned to retain the existing consent and provide for more housing and local shops to create an "active frontage" for Mount View Street.

6. How far will the new hospital be from my back garden?

The closest point from the proposed building to a neighbouring garden is approximately 15m (50 feet) to the terrace of houses of Bodiam Avenue. The closest distance from the proposed building to a house is approximately 18m (60 feet).

7. How tall will the buildings be in Phases 1 and 2?

Phase one will be part single-storey, part two storey. The single storey areas are the wards, which have mono-pitch roofs (c. 7.2m (23 feet) to ridge). The front of the building is two storey which houses the office area (c. 10m high (33 feet)).

Phase 2 is generally two stories high, with a mono-pitched roof on top. The roof will make it appear slightly taller than phase 1 – the eaves will be approximately at 9m high (30 feet), and the ridge c. 11-12m (40 feet). The visual impact of phase 2 is minimised by it being nestled into the hillside. Both phases use the sloping site topography to locate the ground floor level to roughly 3m lower than that of neighbouring houses to the south and west.

8. Why does the building have to be so large/sprawling?

The building has been designed around the clinical needs of patients. Modern, best practice mental health care emphasises a safe and therapeutic setting, natural light, and direct access to gardens.

Each ward is based on an X-shape which enables staff to observe patients effectively and provides lots of light and good garden spaces for service users. Added together, the three wards are supported by therapy and other support spaces which form the footprint of the building.

Each ward needs to be on the same level with each other as part of best practice for service user and staff safety. This enables staff to rapidly respond to a potential emergency in an adjacent ward quickly and safely. Only administrative offices and medical education are located at the first floor level.

The flatter form of the building also helps minimise its impact on the neighbouring properties. The building is broken up by the X-shapes wards, with each arm of the X being roughly the same length as the terraced houses on Bodiam Avenue. 

9. Will the development involve any compulsory purchases of neighbouring properties?

No. There is no intention, nor need, to compulsorily purchase any properties adjoining the site.

All construction will take place within the boundaries set out in the plans.

Hospital and inpatients

10. Will this be a secure unit?

No. Any patients whose conditions cannot safely be treated other than in a secure or supervised environment will receive treatment at other facilities across Sussex.

11. Will the patients in the new hospital be a risk to the public?

No. All our patients are fully assessed and anyone deemed to be a risk to other people would be treated in more secure facilities elsewhere in the county.

12. How many patients will this hospital hold?

It will be a 54-bed hospital for adults and older people. We will also be seeking outline planning permission to extend the site at some point in the future, depending on funding being made available. This will entail more bed capacity but the exact numbers are not known at present.

13. What kind of mental health will this hospital cater for?

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides care and treatment for people with conditions such as psychosis, depression, anxiety, dementia and personality disorder. For more information, please see our website at: https://www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/.

The vast majority of our patients are cared for in the community close to family and friends. However, on the occasions when people need to be cared for as inpatients, they need to be treated in a high quality environment which provides opportunities for the best therapeutic care.

People are admitted to inpatient services such as those that will be available in these new facilities will experience conditions such as psychosis, borderline personality disorder and emotionally unstable personality disorder (BPD/EUPD).

For instance, psychosis (also called a 'psychotic experience' or 'psychotic episode') is when you perceive or interpret reality in a very different way from people around you.  The most common types of psychotic experiences are hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking and speech.

Psychosis affects people in different ways. People might experience it once, have short episodes throughout their life, or live with it most of the time.

Some people may become so unwell that they need to come into hospital for a period of assessment and treatment.  Treatment will consist of a range of interventions, including talking therapies, medication and Occupational Therapy.

Everyone can experience difficulties with our relationships, self-image and emotions. A diagnosis of BPD/EUPD is when a person is feels consistently unstable or experiences intense emotions all of the time and this can cause significant problems in daily life.

This may include feeling very worried about people abandoning them or have very intense emotions that can change quickly, for example, from feeling very happy and confident in the morning to feeling low and sad in the afternoon).

Some people may require admission to hospital because they are high risk of self-harm and may feel suicidal. People admitted to hospital will be offered further assessment and treatment which will include a range of interventions to help manage their condition and reduce risks.  

You may be aware that one in four people in the UK will encounter a mental health issue each year - this hospital will be there to support all people that may be affected. It will provided the care  necessary to enable them a swift and healthy return to their homes, employment and families.

14. Will young people be treated at the hospital?

No. This will be a hospital for adults and older people.

15. Will the new hospital be operating 24 hours a day?

Yes. However, it is worth emphasising that there will be no emergency department so most patients will be referred from other services and more often than not will arrive during the day. Visiting hours will also only be during the day or early evening.

16. What security will be in place at the hospital to safeguard local residents?

All our sites meet the necessary security requirements for hospitals of this nature. This new hospital would allow patients to leave the hospital site, to go to the shops, for instance. They are likely to be accompanied by a member of staff. We can assure you that we would not let any patients leave the site who may pose a risk to themselves or the public. Anyone deemed a risk will be patients in one of our secure units, elsewhere in the county.

17. Will there be CCTV and lighting?

Yes. CCTV cameras will be installed internally and externally to ensure a safe and secure environment for patients and staff. These cameras will focus on the hospital site only, and not the wider environment. Lighting will be installed but designed to be discreet and not a light nuisance for neighbouring properties.

18. What will be on the boundaries?  What about landscaping?

The proposed building has been designed in a parkland-like setting. Access and views out to nature is one of the most important elements that we can provide in the physical environment for service users. The site will utilise and protect the existing trees on site and supplement them with new trees and other planting to form a pleasant zone between the proposed building and neighbouring houses.

19. Will it be noisy?

It is important that our patients are treated in a calm and tranquil environment so every attempt will be made to achieve this, reducing unnecessary noise being a priority.

20. Why is there a need for a 5.2m (17 feet) fence for the private gardens?

The ward garden fence heights are currently under review but at their highest, they would be 5.2m (17 feet). The significant height is necessary to maintain patient safety. 

Transport, travel and parking

21. How many parking spaces are proposed?

Phase 1 has 100 spaces plus six disabled spaces. This is to provide plenty of parking during peak demand during shift changeover times.  A similar number will be provided on Phase 2.

22. Will there be sufficient parking on the site to avoid overspill on to adjoining residential roads?

We have worked out the optimum number of spaces needed for a development of this size and analysed the potential flow of traffic in and out of the site (bearing in mind staff work in shifts and there are specific visiting times). This means we would anticipate that there would not be any need for people to park their cars in adjoining roads. Also, we will be encouraging people to use public transport wherever possible to get to the site.

A parking accumulation assessment will be undertaken as part of the Transport Assessment to demonstrate the balance of parking provision for the operation of the proposals, to ensure no overspill parking on local streets, while promoting sustainable policy objectives. 

23. Will the proposed hospital make the roads busier for existing residents?

The development proposals comprise of a mental health hospital, which will not operate in the same way as a traditional hospital, including staff, visitors, and patient trip profiles:

Staff – will arrive and depart the site over the course of the day in accordance with respective shift patterns.  There will be varying staff on early morning, afternoon, evening, and late evening shifts (staying overnight), with the peak turnover of staff expected to occur typically during the afternoon. 

Visitors – will be managed to / from the site.  It is envisaged that visiting hours would be 2pm to 8pm.  Visitors will have to pre-book in advance with a limit on the total number of visitors on any ward at any one time.

Patients – once a patient has arrived on site it is expected that their stay would be longer-term with no access to a car, and therefore limiting daily patient trips.

With consideration to the above, the effect of the proposals on the local transport networks is expected to be negligible in comparison to the consented site use. 

The Transport Assessment will consider the operation of the proposals on the local road network, including the Wrestwood Road/Mount View Street signal controlled junction. 

24. Will there be public transport access to the site?

We anticipate that, because of this development and the new housing being built opposite, public transport routes would be introduced, or altered, to provide better access to this area. We will be in discussions with the highways authority, bus companies and county council about meeting future public transport needs.

In the meantime, we have carried out a full transport analysis for the site and have established a transport and travel review group to look at the travel and transport implications of our plans. The reports from these two activities can be found on the public consultation website: New mental health hospital in Bexhill: consultation

25. Will there be emergency vehicles coming in all the time?

No. There will be no emergency department so emergency vehicles will not be a regular feature of the site. Most patients will be referred from other services and more often than not will arrive during the day by a variety of means. Visiting hours will also only be during the day or early evening.

Other matters

26. What will happen to the section of land you have allocated as an amenity area?

This section of land is part of the site acquisition and its future use is undecided. However, an example might be to use it for therapy space, such as allotments or garden area.

Any future use will be subject to further consultation and discussions with local residents.

27. Neither the two secondary access roads identified on the plans are suitable for emergency access as they are too narrow and contain residential parking.

Nothing has been decided about where the secondary access road (which is a requirement by law) will be located. We have listened to local residents' concerns and we will be revisit our plans before submitting the formal planning application.

28. What compensation will be offered to residents of the development, which is new, to provide security to their homes?

We can assure you that the hospital will not cause any additional security risk for people living locally. Our site at Mill View Hospital in Hove, for instance, is successfully integrated into the community with no additional security measures needed for local residents. There will be no compensation of this nature although people may want to speak to the developers.

29. What impact do you think this will have on local house prices and ability to sell close to a mental health hospital?

This would not be us to comment. However, anecdotal evidence from our other sites shows no difference in house prices adjacent to our hospitals, and those further away. 

30. Will there be any impact on local wildlife because of these plans?

We have undertaken a detailed ecological survey. Where wildlife, such as badgers or reptiles, is identified on the site, it will be sensitively relocated, if necessary.

All construction will take into account of the need to retain the integrity of site boundaries and not damage any wildlife habitats.

We will also look into planting wildlife-friendly flora in addition to the existing trees and bushes.

If you have any views, comments or suggestions about our plans, please provide your feedback through our dedicated email address: esxccg.eastsussex.mh@nhs.net

Or you can call us on 0330 304 0330 (local rates apply), or write to us at:

Freepost RSHG - GEZL - RBBK
Communications
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Trust Headquarters
Arundel Road
Worthing
BN13 3EP

Our proposals to move inpatient mental health services from the Department of Psychiatry at Eastbourne District General Hospital to a new hospital on a site in either or Bexhill or near Hailsham have been developed over a period of more than three years.

Read the full details about how the plans were developed, the outcome of the formal public consultation which took place between June and September, 2021, and the decision-making process we needed to complete before getting approval for our final plans.