HEALTH chiefs have begun talks over a multimillion-pound redevelopment of a city hospital site.

NHS bosses have outlined early plans for a new 150 housing-with-care facility at Royal South Hants Hospital (RSHH).

The plans also include a 70-bed care home, as well as accommodation for key hospital staff.

The project, which the Echo understands could cost up to £50 million, will centre around the demolition of the site’s Department of Psychiatry building.

Erected in 1979, the building has been empty since 2010 and has been labelled “an eyesore”.

But the proposals also include moving two medical rehabilitation wards four miles across the city, to Western Community Hospital (WCH) in Millbrook.

The wards are used by patients who need care after major medical emergencies, such as a stroke.

The decision has sparked concern among civic chiefs, who fear the move could cause problems for patients and family members.

Bevois councillor, Derek Burke, said: “For a lot of people the hospital is well located and there are plenty of good bus services.

“Millbrook is quite out of the way for some people, particularly in the east of the city.”

Despite this, councillor Burke said he was pleased to see plans for the demolition of the psychiatry building, which has been empty since the opening of Antelope House in 2010.

He described the unused building as “horrible”.

Health chiefs at Southampton City Clinical Commissioning Group (SCCCG) say knocking the building down will allow them to make better use of the space on the site.

Extra space will be created by moving the 43 bed rehabilitation wards to a new facility at WCH.

NHS bosses say the purpose built building will have an extra seven beds.

Although the scheme is yet to be fully costed, that part of the project is expected to cost around £16 million.

John Richards, Chief Executive Officer at SCCCG, said: “We are excited about the possibility of improving services for local people, but these proposals are at a very early stage.

“If we were able to move beds to a new build at WCH, there would be the opportunity to make full and effective use of buildings and land at the RSHH.”

Mr Richards said the CCG was “mindful” of the impact of moving hospital services and said consultations were already underway with patient groups.

The scheme will involve Southampton City Council, who are responsible for adult social care services.

Council health boss, Cllr Dave Shields, said: “These are very exciting plans.

“While ideas are still only at the outline business case stage and more work is needed to bring them to successful fruition, I am totally behind the concept which retains and develops our two NHS community hospitals while also providing much needed extra care and ley worker housing.”