Photos of the front of the Dilke and Lydney hospitals
Photos of the front of the Dilke and Lydney hospitals

With the closure of Lydney hospital’s Minor Injury Unit this week, and the Dilke already fenced off, the Forest of Dean Labour Party wants both sites to remain community buildings.

Local Labour Party policy already designates the Dilke a community asset.

“The history of the Dilke and the link to locals and miners putting their own money in, makes the site a very emotional one for many people.”

The Forest of Dean Labour Party wants to encourage local groups with an interest in using the former hospitals to come forward.

Following the death of the Forest’s Member of Parliament Sir Charles Dilke in 1911, there was fund-raising to establish a local community hospital.   “The Dilke was built as a permanent memorial to the popular MP, first opening its doors in 1923.  Until 1949 it was paid for by public subscription and fund-raising events, so it’s understandable the community wants it to stay as a place for locals to use.” A Labour spokesperson said.

“Sadly, the Dilke is in a poor state of repair, and it fails modern health and safety standards.  Refurbishing the building to allow it to be a health and care facility would cost a huge amount of money.  All possibilities need to be realistically analysed.  The Dilke is in the heart of the Forest and part of the statutory forest, so housing is not likely to be even considered. The Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Trust has said in the past that it will try to prioritise local groups when looking for a buyer for the building, and it may offer favourable terms.”

The Forest of Dean Labour Party wants to help start official dialogue with local organisations who may be serious buyers.

With the new hospital in Cinderford taking on the Minor Injuries Unit from Lydney this week, the future of the Lydney hospital site is also yet to be decided.  It is up for sale, and again, the Labour Party hopes community groups will be consulted and prioritised.

The Lydney and District Hospital was founded in 1882 by Mrs. M.E. Bathurst of Lydney Park.  A new hospital was built on the current site between 1907-09. In the First World War the hospital was used by the Red Cross for nursing war wounded, and from 1925 the hospital operated a contributory medical care scheme.

“Lydney Hospital means a lot to people too.  Both hospitals provoke strong emotions and ideally they can have a future that allows Foresters to still have access to them for the benefit of the community.”

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