Campaigners fighting to have a new hospital built in Mid Sussex have been dealt a major blow.

The Surrey and Sussex Strategic Health Authority (SHA) board is expected to throw out plans for a hospital at Pease Pottage, near Crawley, when it meets on Wednesday.

Instead it is due to turn East Surrey Hospital in Redhill into the main hospital for north Sussex and south-east Surrey while developing some services at Crawley Hospital.

Health chiefs say building at Pease Pottage would cost between £183 million and £259 million while the other plan would cost between £56 million and £85 million.

They say investment in Pease Pottage would be at the expense of developments in primary, community and mental health services across the region.

Today's news has left those who have fought for years for a state-of-the-art hospital at Crawley bitterly disappointed.

Crawley borough councillor Brenda Smith said: "The wishes of the people of Crawley, a town with a fast-growing population, have been ignored.

"I don't think people here are going to accept this lying down and they are going keep this fight going."

Under the new scheme, East Surrey would be the main acute hospital for the region.

Crawley would provide a walk-in accident unit and carry out non-complex and day surgery. It would also have a medical and surgical assessment unit and provide intermediate care.

Its women's and children's unit would be enhanced and a new stroke rehabilitation unit would open.

Maternity services have already been moved to Redhill.

Campaigners plan to travel to Westminster tomorrow to meet Crawley MP Laura Moffatt and a health minister to press for Pease Pottage to go ahead.