Residents in Harpenden turned out to hear about proposals to rejuvenate a memorial hospital that has served the community for more than 70 years.

On Thursday, residents attended a public meeting to discuss the future of Harpenden’s Memorial Hospital, which is popularly known as The Red House.

The hospital has seen has seen a gradual deterioration and loss of services and residents heard how it could be turned into modern style wellness centre or a residential home.

Two senior NHS senior managers, county councillor Teresa Heritage and members from The Harpenden Society made presentations and fielded questions from the public.

Chris Marsden, chairman of the Harpenden society, said the society were delighted to see a large turnout and gratified to hear lively, intelligent questions being answered so positively. "

He said: "There was clearly strong support from both the community and the officers for as much local care as possible, ranging from well-being facilities to respite care.

"Although there are fond memories of the old 'cottage hospital', an overwhelming show of hands showed preference for modern services and facilities over sentimental attachment to an old building."

He added further constructive communication would be planned soon and was reassured a range of improved services could be in place by 2015 or 2016.