EXECUTIVE board members have agreed to 'prioritise the development' of a new hospital in the town to help 'retain clinical services and attract a quality workforce'.

Members briefly discussed the issue at Monday's Town Hall meeting after the health scrutiny committee referred a recommendation to them.

The motion said: "This committee strongly urges the executive board to prioritise the development of a new hospital centred in Warrington to retain clinical services and attract a quality workforce."

In her report to members, Cllr Pat Wright, executive board member for statutory health and adult social care, said: "A full risk assessment would be included within any business cases for a new hospital.

"No firm proposals or recommendations for a new hospital have been established.

"There are no financial considerations directly arising from this report, or the referral from the health scrutiny committee."

The executive board unanimously approved the committee's recommendation.

It also agreed that the current hospital site 'is not conductive to a modern sustainable hospital which meets the needs of residents' and noted that the council is 'currently in conversations with partners regarding potential solutions to the problem'.

Council leader Cllr Terry O'Neill said: "I thank the health scrutiny committee but we have to do it within the roles and remits of this council."