A NEW mental health hospital will be built on farmland on the outskirts of Blackpool.
Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust wants to replace ageing facilities at the resort's Parkwood unit with a state-of-the-art facility at Whyndyke Farm in Marton.
The farm, off Preston New Road, emerged as favourite for the new inpatient hospital after a public meeting in November.
Norcross Farm and the former Devonshire Road Hospital were the other two sites considered.
Trust chief executive Finlay Robertson said: "The trust's current inpatient units are not fit for purpose and we desperately need new units to bring inpatient services up to the required standard.
"We chose Whyndyke Farm for a number of reasons. It is bigger and has room for the 150 beds we plan to put in. Norcross would have had a maximum of 134 and Devonshire Road less than that.
"We also needed somewhere with enough green space for gardens, because we want to make the unit a pleasant environment. This is very important to a person's recovery.
"There have been some concerns expressed about the road being busy, but the building would be set back from the road."
Mr Robertson confirmed discussions had been held with the landowners and there were "no obvious barriers" to the scheme. The land is owned by the Oyston family, owners of Blackpool Football Club.
Local residents today gave the plans a cautious reception.
Michael Bennett, 26, of Cartmell Road, Marton, said: "I can't see the new hospital causing many problems. As long as the patients are well monitored and looked after well I don't think we'll really notice they are there."
Nicola Pearce, 41, of Deepdale Road, Mereside, added: "I suppose it's a bit unnerving to think the facility is going to be so close by but we have to be realistic about it.
"These people that are having problems need to be treated somewhere, lots of families are affected by mental illness. At least on this site they are on the outskirts of town, I don't think it will make any difference in the area."
But Brian Clayton, 65, of Branstree Road, Mereside, said: "Having the hospital here is all we need, we have enough people with problems round here without bringing them in from other parts of town. I can see it causing problems."
Whyndyke will be one of four new mental health hospitals built across Lancashire. The other sites are in Lancaster, Preston and East Lancashire.