RIBBLE Valley MP Nigel Evans has called for government cash for a new 40-bed low-secure unit for people with learning disabilities to earmarked for the Calderstones site.

Last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced an extra £1.8 billion for improvements to NHS services.

It included an allocation of £33million for Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust , which now runs the Calderstone Hospital,.

The trust said the money would be used for the new unit but declined to specify where and when it will be built.

Now Mr Evans wants to ensure the money is spent at the Calderstone site near Whalley, which is scheduled for closure later this year..

He has written to the chief executive of Mersey Care Joe Rafferty asking him to guarantee that the new unit is built there to save the site from total closure.

Mr Evans said: “Calderstones has been a centre of excellence for low-secure care for many moons, and there is no reason why the site should close its doors. Calderstones boasts not only fantastic staff, but also fantastic facilities - including the ‘Maplewood’ unit which cost the taxpayer £7 million just nine years ago and is one of few low to zero carbon emissions facilities to treat mental health patients.

“This additional funding has been allocated directly to Mersey Care to build a 40-bed unit, it can easily be spent on safeguarding the future of Calderstones as an in-community care facility. I will continue to make representations on this front to Mr Rafferty, who must see the vast potential of Calderstones.”

Calderstones is the only NHS hospital specialising in learning disabilities.