Hospital Campaign Update
I continue my belief that the people of all three major towns in West Hertfordshire would be better served by a new hospital on a green field site, located conveniently between all three. I don’t have any preference on a particular location.
A new central site would be easily accessible to all areas and a great location for emergency use for incidents on the M1, M25 and local airports. It would mean zero disruption for existing sites during the build and could allow room for expansion and free, level car parking.
However, despite this being an obvious solution, fully costed out by local campaigners, the West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust has decided to rebuild on the site at Watford.
The Trust has put together a proposal that costs £590 million. The bulk of this money to be spent on Watford with just 10% being shared between Hemel and St Albans.
Planning permission has been submitted in Watford to build three multi-storey buildings on the current car park site – i.e., the slope at the back of the hospital. Outline permission has been granted by Watford Borough Council and, according to press reports, the three buildings could be as many as 17 storeys high.
It seems utter madness to me to build such a massive building in such a poor location. I can’t imagine the disruption during the build process.
The latest news, apparently as I have not seen the letter myself, is that the Government has written to the Trust telling them to rein in the costs to £400 million.
I believe we could achieve this on a new site. Other areas have managed it. A new hospital has recently opened in Cwmbran that cost £350 million.
I wish there was a way we could make it happen, but the Trust just isn’t willing to even look at it.