Plans for Langdon Hospital will enhance services to residents of Devon and Cornwall, provide a boost to the local economy and create 100 jobs.

The development costing more than £20 million, phased over the next decade, will develop the forensic service to the population of the south west. This service involves the care of people with mental disorders who may have had some contact with the criminal justice system.

The board of the Devon Partnership NHS Trust, which provides mental health and learning disability services to more than 850,000 people in Devon, met last week to discuss plans.

Proposals for the Langdon site at Dawlish aim to provide people with the right help, support and treatment from expert, skilled and experienced staff at the right time, in pleasant and modern surroundings that best meet their needs.

The proposals include:

l Improved therapy and activity facilities, including work rehabilitation.

l New facilities for people with long-term forensic needs.

l Improved facilities for people with borderline/mild learning disabilities.

l Rebuilding current medium secure services in line with modern standards and requirements.

l The establishment of an academic department on site, which will help develop opportunities for staff, both qualified and unqualified, to gain relevant training and to develop best practice through research.

Dr Adrian James, consultant forensic psychiatrist, said: 'This is a really exciting time for Langdon and will enable us to build on the excellent services already provided by staff.

'The Butler Clinic, as the second medium secure unit to be built in the country, is now 20-years-old and service provision has changed in that time so we need to change with it. Other buildings on the site are in a dilapidated state and this does not enhance the surrounding area. These developments are essential and will ensure that our patients are receiving the best care in the most suitable environment.'

The trust has an annual income of about £75 million and employs 2,500 staff.

Working closely with partners in health and social care, it plans and delivers services that are of high quality, convenient, meet the needs of service users and carers as well as meeting national standards.

Cllr John Clatworthy, of Dawlish, said: 'Anything that happens to boost the town's economy is good. Tourism is fine, but if we have something permanent then that is even better. Something that brings jobs and money to the area should be welcomed.'

At a meeting of the trust, on Tuesday, it was agreed that plans should be forwarded to the South West Peninsula Strategic Health Authority.

The authority's chief executive, Valerie Howell, said: 'The board fully supported the proposals for the development of the site and welcomes the chance to improve facilities for this client group.