NORTH Craven people are being urged to get behind plans for a new integrated 'health and wellbeing' hub for Settle.
Possibly built on the site of the former Settle Middle School in Giggleswick, it would bring together a range of health services, provide new GP facilities and replace services lost following last week's closure of Castleberg Hospital.
It could also link up with Settle Swimming Pool for both hydrotherapy treatment and for the promotion of healthier lifestyles.
Settle councillor, Wendy Hull, said discussions had been taking place for several months between councillors, doctors from Townhead Surgery, health professionals, and others, including Skipton MP Julian Smith.
She said there was strong support for the plan to use the former Middle School site from North Yorkshire County Council, but that there was also a possible back up site at Greenfoot Car Park.
Cllr Hull said people needed to be realistic and not waste time and energy on trying to keep Castleberg Hospital open.
"This initiative aims to resolve a number of local on-going concerns and issues with a single comprehensive plan rather than a potential series of piecemeal and uneconomic solutions," she said.
The new centre would aim to prevent people from going into hospital and provide support for the frail elderly and increasing numbers suffering from dementia.
"Settle's GP practice urgently needs bigger premises to reflect increasing numbers and to extend range of their services to patients," she said.
"A range of local charities and businesses, focused on care and support for different populations, such as the elderly and disabled, could operate more effectively from an integrated hub enabling better co-ordination of volunteers."
The emerging Craven Local Plan includes the potential for at least 300 more homes in the Settle area and public consultation has identified concerns about the resulting pressure on GP services.
Also highlighted is the need for more sport and leisure facilities as part of national moves towards healthier living.
A single site solution would allow the co-location of relevant teams of professionals and volunteers to better provide “joined up” care and support, truly focused on the needs of each individual.
John Asher, is urging as many people as possible to attend a public meeting on Tuesday at the town's Victoria Hall.
"It is possible that the closure of Castleberg may enable us to see better facilities in North Craven, but this is far from guaranteed. I was speaking with a veteran of the campaign of 2008 who said that the big mistake which the community made after Castleberg was saved was to think that was the end of the story and forget about it," he said.
"There are many positive ideas now being worked on for the future, but they may need public involvement and support to make them happen."
There are two public meetings due to be held on Tuesday, April 25 when people will hear from councillors and health professionals. The first will take place at 2pm at the Friends Meeting House, Kirkgate and has been organised by Airedale Hospital Council of Governors. A second meeting at 3pm at Victoria Hall, Settle, will hear about aspirations for future medical care in North Craven and is expected to be attended by representatives of Townhead Surgery, the Clinical Commissioning Group, Craven District Council and North Yorkshire County Council, and Airedale Hospital.