The estimated cost of building a new hospital in Harborough will be nearly £3m more than first anticipated.
NHS bosses announced late last week that the new St Luke’s Hospital in Leicester Road will now cost £6.8m.
The building estimates have fluctuated over the years – normally downwards – with the most recent figure quoted at £4m.
But NHS England revealed the new figure to Harborough district councillors at the local authority’s scrutiny panel meeting on Monday last week.
Gillian Garratt, a spokesman for the NHS, told the Mail the new figure was what NHS Properties Services felt was needed to deliver the level of services suggested in the St Luke’s business case.
Getting approval for the business case under the new NHS structure was why building work on the new hospital was delayed last year – it was due to get under way in the summer.
Meanwhile, there was anger from some health campaigners this week after the NHS could give no assurances over the future of the war memorial portico at the town’s Cottage Hospital.
Costs for moving the portico have been removed from the £6.8m budget.
Under the plan, the Cottage Hospital in Coventry Road is due to be sold to help fund the new St Luke’s.
An NHS England spokesman said: “The business case does not include any proposals for relocating the war memorial.
“In the event of the Cottage Hospital being declared surplus, we will work with the local community, Harborough District Council and East Leicestershire and Rutland Clinical Commissioning Group to agree a future home for the memorial so that it will remain in the community prior to NHS Property Services taking any action to dispose of the surplus site.”
District councillor Phil Knowles, who has been fighting for more than 20 years for the town to get a new hospital, said: “Many residents will doubtless be running the full range of emotions from confusion to concern, dismay to anger. These feelings are doubtless enhanced in the centenary commemoration year of the First World War.
“The figure for the new hospital has gone from £4m with the costs of moving the memorial included, to a figure of £6.8m excluding it.”
David Sharp, director for NHS England in Leicestershire, said: “We are very aware of local feeling regarding the war memorial and we will be working very closely with the local authority and residents to inform them of plans as we move through the stages of the development into 2015.”
Timescales for the new hospital are the same as published in November – work should start this September with the site opening in January 2016.