St Ann’s Hospital

Dorset HealthCare’s plan is to develop a mental health campus encompassing the St Ann’s Hospital site in Poole and the Alumhurst Road site in Bournemouth. Together, these sites provide a range of inpatient mental health services for children and young people, adults, and older adults. They will improve emergency support and standards of care for people in mental health crisis, as well as creating more specialist care capacity and ending the need for out-of-area placements.

If you have acute mental health issues, whatever your age, this project will ensure you will be treated more quickly in a modern, purpose-built and safe environment – with clinical experts and people with lived experience of mental health problems all helping to shape its design and development.

What is proposed

The second phase of Dorset HealthCare’s NHP project will see the partial re-development of the St Ann’s site – creating extra adult mental health (AMH) inpatient beds; the refurbishment of inadequate AMH and older people’s mental health inpatient accommodation (ensuring all patients have their own rooms); a brand new replacement adult PICU, and a replacement Section 136 suite (‘place of safety’) for patient detention under the 1983 Mental Health Act. This work will not only increase our mental health inpatient capacity for Dorset, ensuring people can access the help they need more quickly, but also provide dignity and privacy for all inpatients.

The plans are being carefully designed to minimise impacts on the surrounding areas. It will also be an environmentally sensitive project, with fully sustainable buildings contributing towards the Trust’s net zero carbon targets.

We will create a brand new in-patient intensive care unit at St Ann’s Hospital. This will be for adults in mental health crisis. This means:

  • improved emergency support and standards of care for adults
  • patients can access the specialist care they need
  • the latest facilities will improve recovery times
  • treatment will be close to friends and family, with space for families to stay if needed
  • fewer distressing out-of-area placements, which separates people from their loved ones, hampering their chances of recovery.

The design

The Trust is proposing a series of planning applications at St Ann’s Hospital site to improve the privacy, dignity and security of the service users, to improve working conditions for Trust staff and to meet the standards expected by service commissioners. This includes:

Alternative New Build 2

A new hospital building in the footprint of New Build 2 of the 2011 consent which would house a seven bed male Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), a six bed female PICU and a 14 bed female Adult Mental Health Unit (AMH).

Haven Ward S136 Extension

a c. 14 sqm extension under the existing Alumhurst Ward balcony to allow for the existing unit to be converted into a specialist section 136 ward for patients who require urgent care and control.

Chine Ward door

Conversion of an existing window on the Listed Building to a door, to allow for the provision of staff changing facilities to encourage active travel.

Crescent car parking

Formalisation of the Crescent car parking and tree protection through soft landscaping measures.

These are brought forward as separate applications due to the nature of each part of the site, however, all are interlinked in the delivery of a high-quality mental health service. This will not only ensure adequate resource for patients in Dorset but also strengthen the existing resource for the region.

Heritage and conservation

  • The loss of curtilage Listed Buildings and significance to the Grade II* Building has already been approved in the 2011 application
  • The proposed Alternative New Build 2 development would result in less than substantial harm to heritage assets
  • Thoughtful designed elevations and formalisation of the Crescent car parking to reduce current harm to the listed building setting
  •  Incorporation of buffer planting to reduce visual impact.


  • No changes will be made to existing vehicle access
  • The development will not cause a change in the level of traffic in the surrounding area
  • The plans create dedicated parking at the Crescent which is currently used informally
  • The new parking will use soft materials rather than tarmac to blend in with the setting
  •  Car and cycle parking and EV charging will be provided, in line with BCP Council’s Parking Standards and Dorset HealthCare’s Green Travel Plan
  • A car share plan will be in place for the site.

Ecology and trees

  • The proposed Alternative New Build 2 has been designed to be respectful of the trees and sylvan setting of the site
  • The development requires the removal of five trees or groups of trees, previously consented in 2011
  • Tree roots will be protected in the new formalised parking space.

The development will deliver a biodiversity net gain and meet BREEAM Excellent standards. BREEAM is the international method for assessing the sustainability of buildings, and considers things such as materials, renewable energy provision and transport.

Have your say

An event was held at the site of St Ann’s Hospital in mid-November to engage members of the public. Local residents, the media and other stakeholders were invited where they not only had the chance to view plans ahead of being submitted, but also hear first-hand from those helping to deliver the scheme, including the architect, developers, patient representatives, clinical representatives and the project management team.

Voice your support for better mental health services in Dorset

Plans have now been submitted for much needed improvements to mental health facilities in Dorset – and we need your support. The applications for changes at St Ann’s Hospital are now live on the council’s planning portal, simply search “st anns” or use the unique reference numbers below:

  • Chine Ward: APP/23/00163/F
  • Crescent: APP/23/00166/F
  • New Build 2: APP/23/00167/F
  • Haven Ward: APP/23/00165/F

Remember, this project includes updating current facilities and creating extra beds meaning:

  • local people can get treated sooner
  • care takes place in a modern, purpose-built and safe environment close to home.

Project timeline

Public engagement event: 14 November 2022

Target date for submission of Planning application: 30 November 2022

Planning consideration period: 1 December 2022 – Mid March 2023

Planning approval expected: June 2023

Final detailed design period: Oct 22 – Aug 23

On-site preparation works: July 23 – Jan 24 

Construction on site: Jan 2024 – Jan 2027 *phased units

Enhanced patient care begins: Jan 2026

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Future mental health