LANCASHIRE’s mental health trust is the organisation interested in developing a major site next to the Royal Blackburn Hospital, once earmarked for a £25million science park.

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust wants to build a 70-bed inpatient unit in Guide, the Lancashire Telegraph can reveal, as part of its long-term plan to concentrate specialist services on four major new sites, instead of the current eight.

The plans for the 10-acre site between Shadsworth Road and Haslingden Road have not yet been publicly announced, although council papers last week said ‘an organisation’ had been given a three-year option to develop the site for medical-related purposes.

The long-awaited move follows a consultation process in 2006. This recommended that specialist mental health care be delivered in fewer locations, with more cash spent on treating people with less serious problems in the community or at home.

Inpatient care will no longer be offered at Burnley General Hospital, with two ward closures already confirmed, while Chorley and South Ribble Hospital is also likely to lose its mental health beds.

The three other new facilities will be in Lancaster, where work is nearing completion, The Harbour in Blackpool, where work recently started, and a yet-to-be-confirmed site in Central Lancashire. The overall plan is expected to save £12million.

A spokesman for Lancashire Care said: “Following the recommendations of the consultation the trust is in the process of replacing its existing mental health wards, which are no longer suitable, with four new purpose built inpatient units across the county.

“The plans for [Blackburn] are in the early stages and further updates will be provided following formal approval processes and decisions.

“It is the intention that the new facility for the East Lancashire area will become operational during 2016/17.

“The trust does not envisage any redundancies during this process.”