PLANS for a £5m state-of-the-art community hospital in Bicester have been recommended for approval by planning officers.

But councillors on Cherwell District Council ’s planning committee will have the final say at a meeting on Thursday.

Developer Kajima Mansell wants to build a replacement 12-bed hospital on land behind the current hospital, in Kings End, and once complete the old 12-bed Victorian hospital building would be demolished to make way for 14 two and three- bedroom houses.

As part of the deal the developer will buy the former hospital site from the health authority.

The residential site will not include any affordable housing, despite the council’s 30 per cent policy, as the developer said the project would not be viable and could jeopardise the new hospital.

The proposed two-storey community hospital will include all the current services such as X-ray, therapies and a first-aid unit.

Eight letters were sent to the council opposing the application on the grounds of loss of a locally-listed building, impact on the nearby conservation area, increased traffic and lack of room for expansion of health services.

Others argued the hospital should be built at the Kingsmere site, which has planning approval for a health village.

The current hospital has been locally listed but has been deemed unfit for purpose. A report said although the building was of significant importance for the town’s history, a new hospital was more important.