Three sites being considered for new hospital in Harlow

News / Fri 31st Aug 2018 am31 08:22am

By Local Democracy Reporter
Piers Meyler

AN area in Harlow close to the M11 and another where thousands of homes are being developed have been revealed as two greenfield sites being considered for a new hospital for the town.

A third option would see the existing Princess Alexandra Hospital buildings in the centre of the town being replaced with a brand new complex.

The PAH board has argued that the current estate is no longer fit for purpose and to continue improving its clinical care in the face of a predicted significant population growth for Harlow, a new hospital is vital.

PAH has said the viability of the two greenfield sites – one in Gilston which has been earmarked for as many as 10,000 new homes across new villages to the north of Harlow and in East Hertfordshire – and an another between the M11 and Sheering Road at the new M11 junction 7a, relies on highways and other infrastructure being in place, which is outside of the Trust’s control to deliver.

The preferred greenfield site is due to be announced in October and the preferred option of staying on site in a phased scheme, or moving elsewhere, is to be announced in February 2019.

The Government confirmed that Princess Alexandra Hospital’s proposal for a new hospital has been submitted and further decisions will be made after the Autumn Budget.

Harlow MP Robert Halfon said: “I have been passionately campaigning for a new hospital for the past three years, I am completely open minded where the hospital is.

“I am not an expert, as long as it’s very near for Harlow residents to get to.

“But this is a hospital that would benefit the whole of west Essex and that is why I have had a lot of support from neighbouring MPs.

“People know that this is essential not just for Harlow but across Essex.

“Harlow’s hospital is not fit for purpose and all the new development and new housing which means thousands of new residents will be coming to the area means we need a hospital campus that is fit for the 21st century.”

The hospital is believed to need almost £100m investment to maintain current standards over the next decade.

An additional £50m is thought to be needed to make the improvements necessary to refurbish wards and to bring the hospital up to modern standards.

The surrounding boroughs the hospital serves are also set to have 51,000 new homes by 2033.

Mr Halfon added: “It’s not fit for purpose, we have amongst the highest A&E per head among any population in England.

“We have a problem keeping staff because if they go to London they have a higher wage weighting and despite this the hospital has performed against the odds.

“It has incredible staff, an incredible maternity unit and they have a fantastic apprenticeship program as well.

“There is a lot more needed to make it happen – we are in the top ten projects in the country to be considered.

“We have a good chance but there is a long way until we have the best chance in a generation.”

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11 Comments for Three sites being considered for new hospital in Harlow:

2018-08-31 09:54:28

So, thumbs down to the lefty critics of R H. An active member of the Harlow community, doesn't crow about what he's up to, just gets on with it. Laura Mac, versus Halfon. No contest, the people of Harlow know who the right person is to represent us in Parliament.

2018-08-31 13:37:28

Is this really true or is this just another way to get planning permission under the guise of a new Hospital just so more houses can be built.

2018-08-31 14:51:20

As the UKIP candidate myself, I can see all parties support this new hospital. I met the current chief executive and his deputy before the last GE. We now clearly have a committed top team at PAH instead of interims passing through. The issue is they need a timetable as soon as possible so that they can plan accordingly. There is no point spending money on something that is being replaced, but if that replacement is five years away, they need to know what to do in the meantime. I'm not sure the current Government understand that! As for the houses issue, alot are proposed outside our borders, so residents need to keep an eye on what Epping and E.Herts are up to! Mark Gough.

tony durcan
2018-09-01 16:31:41

Logic4u you are partly correct as if PAH does move of its current site this will be designated for housing. Equally the new hospital site may require homes for staff so again this will increase the housing stock which would be built as part of the new site. My guess the developers will want it on or as near their land as this will boost up house prices. The easiest option is to build on a new site. The best option for Harlow is to redevelop the current site which would be extremely difficult but not impossible. Thank you.

2018-09-02 13:46:54

Everyone can agree that a new, expanded hospital is needed. However I would like to see an independent study produce a cost benefit analysis of building a new hospital either on it's present site or,on the edge of town. Clearly developers of all the new homes planned for the eastern edge of Harlow would like to see a new hospital built close by, as Tony Durcan says this would boost the price of these new homes. However doing so will just add to the road congestion in the area, which even Essex County Council's own estimates show that roads nearby will see a massive increase in traffic use.. The present site has all the basic services such as water, gas and electricity, is close to the town centre and is easy to get to for both staff and patients. Harlow Council however has already included this site in its Local Plan and wants to see 650 homes built on it. It seems to me that if a multi storey car park similar to the one built next to the railway station was erected (which would take only a few months to build and not be very expensive), this would free up space on the present site and in stages a new hospital could be built. Not all of the buildings are 50 odd years old so not all will need to be demolished.

2018-09-02 14:49:16

Tenpin there is clear evidence that the current building isn’t fit for purpose moving forward. Lots of reasons and some excuses but it has serviced us well but can’t continue. Only solution is a new build and the easiest solution is on another site. The key question is what side of the M11 Will it be built ,either Harlow side or Epping land site of the new junction. As housing is going to be develop all services will have to be built new anyway. I would love us to retain the current site and build new as it great access to the town .we have to be honest that another site is better for the wider community . The new hospital will be a true Herts/Essex hospital for the many etc etc. Thank you.

2018-09-02 22:56:36

Well I have to say that I and many people I have spoken to would like to see the clear evidence that the hospital has to be moved. The present site is in public ownership but the site will be sold off to privately owned house builders who will make a massive profit from the site when 650 homes are built on it. I think what is happening here is similar to many hospital sites over the last 15 years or so, sell off land for house building which goes some way to paying for the new hospital.Therefore the move will take place not because it is the easiest, but because it is the cheapest and blow the inconvenience which will be experienced by patients and visitors alike.

2018-09-05 06:27:58

Are the M11 sites a great idea for the hospital? I would say no as the roundabout is often gridlocked and cannot cope with current traffic demands. You might argue that junction 7a might solve this issue. However with the increasing size of Harlow we can only hope that this eases current issues.

2018-09-05 10:07:58

Delving a little further, I now understand that even if the site and money became available today, it would be 8 years before a new hospital could be completed, by which time thousands of new houses will have been built in the area. In the meantime, I see that one of the car parks at the hospital is closed to make way for a new ward and staff are going to have to park in the Linkway car park. This is at least the second time this has happened in recent years. It still seems to me that building new, permanent buildings on the existing site, in stages would be a far more sensible approach rather than throwing money at temporary solutions (such as the new reception area recently), for the next 8 years must be more cost effective and we would still have a HARLOW hospital.

2018-09-06 13:41:29

The present site isn't adequate,obviously, so, instead of building out wards, why don't they assess, building upwards ?

2018-09-07 14:54:28

would also like to point out, that the request of clear evidence by tenpin is not unreasonable but was quickly dismissed by durcant. Has the current site already been sold off to a housing developer or has a Member of the Labour run council or MP made a promise to the housing developer for a sizable gift / Brown envelope?

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