Community hospital beds are ‘not viable’ at the Tyrrell in Ilfracombe, according to health bosses.

Two meetings on Thursday and Monday for user groups and councillors looked at where beds will be kept, after a decision to cut from 74 to 40 and care for people at home.

Public events will be held through August for people to have their say on where beds should be in the remaining locations of Bideford, South Molton or Barnstaple.

If North Devon District Hospital is the preferred location for community/rehabilitation beds, Northern Devon Healthcare Trust says using other sites would not be an option.

The trust, running the consultation for NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, says other choices involve a pairing from among the remaining three hospitals.

Beds at The Tyrrell have been closed since November due to staffing problems, but now the trust says it would cost up to £2.5million and take two or three years to extend or refurbish the hospital.

Tyrrell League of Friends chairman Gloria Satchwell said the hospital would not be closing, and would see more clinics, but she would like to see day care beds added.

"We want to get as many people in Ilfracombe as possible to be at the meeting next week, to protest about it, but also to be there so we can push for day care beds," she said.

Trust chief executive Dr Alison Diamond said trusts had a duty to make significant annual savings and needed to deliver safe and effective care within financial constraints.

"The Tyrrell is much cherished by local people and we will continue to work closely with the community over plans to introduce further outpatient clinics and services at the hospital in the short term, while considering opportunities for the longer term," she said.

Public consultations will be held at 3.30pm, 5pm and 6.30pm at the following locations:

Tuesday, August 18: Landmark, Ilfracombe.

Thursday, August 20: Holsworthy Memorial Hall.

Tuesday, August 25: Assembly Rooms, South Molton Town Hall.

Thursday, August 27: Stucley Hall, Bideford College.