Just three babies have been born at Halstead birthing centre in the past three years.

The midwifery led unit boasts a suite of private rooms, including a bathroom and a kitchen, and a team who are on call 24 hours a day and will open up the centre at anytime- even on Christmas Day.

It is available for low risk births and any women who become high risk during pregnancy are transferred to Colchester General Hospital.

But most Halstead mothers opt to go straight to Colchester General Hospital when they go into labour, which is more than 14 miles away.

Estimated figures also show about five per cent of mums choose to give birth at home.

This compares to a Colchester wide figure of about three per cent and a national average of two per cent.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust is paid to provide maternity services at Halstead Hospital on behalf of the North East Essex Clinic Commissioning Group [CCG].

At the moment the trust does not pay rent for the space but this is expected to change after April 1.