Borough councillors have been asked to intervene over the loss of hospital beds at Portland – but campaigners have been told there is little they can do.

They want councillors who sit on the county council’s health and scrutiny committee on September 13 to call for a re-think of any proposals which might lead to a loss of hospital beds.

Lesley Saunders, on of those fighting the closure, used the public session at Weymouth and Portland borough council meeting to ask councillors to make more of an effort to build homes which key workers could afford.

She said that not only were nurses being priced out of the area – but so were teachers, because they simply could not afford most local homes on their wages.

She said that an open letter asks all councillors to consider what more could be done to attract and retain key workers in the area.

“I ask councillors, especially those on planning, to consider accommodating key workers, both in health and teaching staff.

“I am a retired teacher and it’s a huge issue for schools when recruiting because staff find they can’t afford to live here…it’s the same for nursing. Housing is part of the issue.”

Mayor, Cllr Gill Taylor told her: “What happens at Portland Hospital is outside the scope of this council …at the moment we have no jurisdiction, apart from as consultees.”

She said that the issue of homes for key workers is mentioned in the review of the Local Plan: “It has to be, and should be, looked at. Unless we can provide suitable housing we are going to have real problems.”