THINGS are all a bit vague at the moment.

I’m not talking about my general state of mind, whatever my long-suffering family might say, but about the HEAT project, which proposes to transform our hospital site into a ‘health campus’.

I popped along to the recent exhibition at the Britford memorial hall to see what was going on.

It was pleasantly surprising not to be confronted with a fait accompli dressed up as a public consultation. (NB Wiltshire Council!) People’s thoughts seemed genuinely welcome.

And I don’t think anyone would disagree that the older buildings at the hospital are very much in need of replacing and are capable of being developed to a higher density without destroying any greenfield land or cherished views.

You won’t be surprised to hear that I chipped in a few ideas of my own.

For example, we know that the Three Chequers medical practice needs a new home and was at one time (possibly still is) eyeing up the lovely Lime Kiln wildlife site in Harnham.

So why not have a GP practice on the hospital campus instead, I asked. It’s only a bus stop away.

The spokesman I’d collared said that was exactly the kind of thing they would welcome.

And what about building some kind of step-down convalescent facility to free up acute care beds?

Just what they had in mind!

There was lots of talk, too, about creating more green spaces, recognising the health benefits this would bring. And about expanding medical research work. Better and better!

Also encouraging was the mention of some kind of educational facility to train much-needed health sector workers.

Why not build some more affordable housing, to persuade those workers to stay on in pricey Salisbury once they’re qualified? There’s enough room up there, I suggested.

Aha! Subsequent online perusal of the hospital board minutes (for March 7, if you’re interested) suggests that selling some of the hospital site (a “land disposal element”) is very much part of the Estates Strategy, along with an “expanded retail offering”.

Apparently the hospital “will be expected to contribute” any “excess land” to “support the national housing undersupply” and “maximise value for the NHS estate”.

I’ve asked for more information but won’t get an answer in time to meet the Journal deadline.

Understandably, there’s an aim with all this of making the hospital more financially self-sufficient, creating sources of revenue that, fingers crossed, are not subject to the whims of politicians.

At the consultation, I was assured that it’s not about privatisation, by either the front or the back door. However, some use of private finance was explicitly not ruled out.

The board minutes waffle about ‘a broad range of procurement routes’. When you see a phrase like that, you can’t help asking questions, can you?

So it will be interesting to see how the masterplan evolves over the coming months, with a more detailed consultation event pencilled in for June, and a planning application next year.

You can contribute your ideas by emailing