QUESTIONS on the cost and time-scale of building a new state of the art health and social care facility, earmarked for Newtown, still need to be answered.

The £2.5million given to the project by The Welsh Government in May, is just to fund the start of the project, holding the consultation sessions and drawing up plans.

The total costs have been discussed at The National Assembly for Wales, chamber and were thought to be at least 10 times the initial £2.5million.

On Friday, (June 14) Powys Regional Partnership Board, which is made up of Powys Teaching Health Board (PTHB) and Powys County Council (PCC) took the first steps in a long journey by holding consultation drop in sessions at Newtown and Llanidloes.

Powys Teaching Health Board, (PTHB) director of planning and performance, Hayley Thomas, explained: “I’m not going to come up with a figure because we have not done the work on it yet.

“The reality is we have to find a way of delivering the service within our budget.

“We will be looking for capital investment to build the facility and that’s the bit I can’t explain.

“As we need to do the work, finding what the model of care, and work out exactly what we’re providing and then cost it.

“We’re really at the beginning of this project.

“Sometimes we’re criticised for coming out too late when asking people what they think of our plans.

“So maybe in about nine months time we should be in a position where we can be a bit clearer about the scale.

“We need to think about working together, as we (and PCC) are all working towards the same end.”

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Ms Thomas added that the session had seen a “fantastic turnout” for the consultation.

“We need to do more evening events and work with children”, added Ms Thomas.

At Newtown’s Glanhafren Market Hall, over 100 went to the session to talk to representatives of PTHB and PCC about the project.

A spokesman for PTHB said that between 30 to 40 people had turned up to the earlier session held at Chatwood House in Llanidloes.

The spokesman also said the project could take five years to become reality.

PCC director of Social Services, Ali Bulman, said: “These events were amazing

“Great to see and hear from so many people at the events.

“A huge thank you to everyone who came and especially to those who worked so hard to make them happen.”

Called a  ‘Rural Regional Centre’, the health centre could include rehabilitation services, in-patient beds, enhanced diagnostics and a wide range of other services.

The preferred site for the campus is in the centre of Newtown, nearby there are council offices a medical practice and two schools.

A Welsh language event is supposed to take place in Welshpool, followed by a number of ‘drop-in events’ across Powys for residents to share their views.

Meeting dates and venues will be announced soon.