A £5M FUNDRAISING project to build a dedicated cancer treatment centre will continue.

That is the rallying message from the Ark Cancer Centre Charity this week after a decision on at the end of November by the north and west Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) to abandon plans for a new £140m hospital with a cancer treatment centre.

On Thursday last week, the CCGs confirmed their decision to scrap plans to build a new hospital on land near Junction 7 of the M3, for which planning permission with the treatment centre was granted to Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) two years ago.

Despite this decision, fundraising by the Ark Cancer Centre Charity, which has raised more than £1.5m so far, will continue.

Charity trustee Merv Rees said: “From the outset, the aspiration has been to build the new cancer treatment centre alongside a new HHFT critical treatment hospital (CTH) on land near to Junction 7 of the M3 on the outskirts of Basingstoke. This would have put the new hospital and cancer centre in the middle of the HHFT area, making both easily accessible to all of our residents.

“While the Junction 7 location has been the preferred option, all involved in the cancer treatment centre project have always stated that if this does not prove to be achievable, we would proceed with exploring an alternative location, most likely on the existing Basingstoke hospital site.

“The decision of the CCGs is disappointing for Ark Cancer Centre Charity. However, Alex Whitfield, chief executive of HHFT which will provide the bulk of the funding, has confirmed that the cancer treatment centre will still go ahead, and she has expressed her thanks and gratitude for the amazing support for the fundraising campaign.

“All involved in the cancer treatment centre project will now look at progressing our alternative option plans. We will all do our utmost to secure the best outcome for the people in the HHFT area who deserve, and need, access to the best possible cancer care in the best possible environment.

“The crucial fundraising campaign will continue as the plans for the cancer treatment centre advance, and the ongoing support of local people is vital and much appreciated.”

The CCGs cited affordability reasons for abandoning the plans, a move criticised by HHFT and politicians in Basingstoke.