Views sought over plans for £20m hospital in Somerset

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A developer is seeking the public's views on plans for a £20m mental health hospital near Wellington in Somerset.

Montpelier Estates said the hospital at Chelston would create 225 jobs.

The company hopes to submit plans for a site at the junction of the A38 and B3187 to Taunton Deane Borough Council later this year.

The hospital would be classed as low to medium secure and would not be owned by the NHS, but NHS patients would be treated in it.

It is part of a regional strategy to have more than 130 psychiatric patients treated in the area.

'Vulnerable people'

Montpelier Estates said it hoped to avoid a negative public response encountered by other mental health hospital developments elsewhere in the country.

In a statement, it said: "Providing good mental health for all requires a modern, caring and secure environment.

"This hospital will provide a 'centre of excellence' and be a benefit to health services in the region who want to deliver treatments and therapies in an effective way.

"We have developed many such hospitals throughout the country and sometimes, through lack of knowledge rather than prejudice, people react negatively when plans are first mooted.

"We are confident that local people will adopt a compassionate and understanding stance towards the vulnerable people who will be treated.

"What is required is careful and thorough explanation and we have embarked on a consultation which provides this."

The company has set up a website where residents can give their views on the plans and intends to invite the public to have their say at a consultation clinic on a date yet to be set.

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