Malvern Town Council warned South Worcestershire Primary Care Trust to expect a large turn-out at Monday's public meeting.

Concerned the trust was not giving enough publicity to consultations over the new hospital, the council wrote to every household in the town about the meeting.

"If the trust had listened to us in the first place, they would have hired the larger Forum theatre for this crucial meeting," said council chairman Ralph Madden.

"In fact their first choice was at Priory Lodge - an even smaller location.

"We had no say in where the meetings were held but we did advise the PCT to move this meeting to the largest possible venue. They must take all the blame for failing to recognise the depth of feeling about the hospital in the town.

"The primary care trust admit they were taken by surprise by the attendance. Why? Because they have simply never taken this public consultation seriously enough.

"Now they know the people of Malvern are not prepared to lie down quietly and wait for bureaucrats to decide things for them."

Coun Madden says the PCT should hold two meetings, one in the afternoon, and a second in the evening, later than 6pm, for people who work in the daytime.

"Malvern Town Council will continue to campaign for the best possible hospital for Malvern. By coming out on a freezing night in such numbers, the people of the town have shown that they want that too. Now it's up to the health service to deliver."

PCT chief executive Mike Ridley said the trust was planning two meetings, as Coun Madden suggested.

He said the trust was looking for the biggest venue it could book and said the meetings would be before the end of the consultation on March 7.