New hospital for Harlow can cope with 23,000 new homes say bosses

Health / Fri 4th Aug 2023 at 02:33pm

THE “new hospital” in an area where authorities have planned 23,000 new homes “will be ready to grow from day zero” reports the Local Democracy Reporter.

NHS chiefs have said they are prepared to treat growing populations either side of the Hertfordshire and Essex border.

The Government has promised Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow a slice of the £20billion New Hospital Programme fund.

NHS trust bosses have said the plan is to “lift and shift” the hospital equipment into a new site – from near Fourth Avenue in the town centre to a new M11 junction 7a site to the east of the town.

It will be “open and ready to go” around 2029, they promised.

Michael Meredith, the hospital’s director of strategy, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Yes, the new hospital will be bigger.

“It will be at least 10 per cent bigger.

“There will, of course, be fluctuations in the number of patients over time.

“We will be ready to grow in size on the new site – by 10 per cent from day zero, and 20 per cent in the future.”

To decide how big Harlow hospital’s cash package will be and its future capacity, the NHS trust must hand a business plan to the Government.

Mr Meredith said: “We have built all the developments into the future modelling.

“We have had to make some assumptions on the population growth.”

He added different models of care, such as at-home or virtual treatment, could help “shorten the length of stays” and ease pressure on hospital resources.

“There is wiggle room as populations flex up and down,” Mr Meredith said.

“There are significant benefits to building a brand new hospital.

“We have been given a funding envelope, and we continue to check and challenge the funding we are allocated.”

Harlow is due to grow by around 23,000 homes as part of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town (HGGT) project.

East Harlow, straddling the Harlow and Epping Forest districts boundary, would feature around 3,350 new homes and the proposed new hospital build.

In Water Lane and Latton Priory to the south and west, planners have suggested building 3,150 new homes.

In Gilston, East Herts Council’s development management committee green-lit 10,000 new homes across seven villages earlier in 2023.

During the developers’ successful bid to secure planning permission, the NHS requested between £9.49million and £11.26m for acute care at Harlow’s hospital.

“The funding of hospital and ambulance services is the remit of the NHS hospital trust and the UK Government, and is paid for through taxation by all citizens,” an East Herts Council report, referring to legal advice, set out at the time.

Instead of acute care funding, developers will construct a healthcare hub and lease it back to the NHS at a near-market rate.

In the Borough of Broxbourne, 10 miles from the proposed hospital site, developers have permission for 1,500 homes and a new town centre at Brookfield.

The new hospital site – off the new M11 junction which opened in June 2022 – would be closer to Sawbridgeworth and Bishop’s Stortford than the existing campus.

Mr Meredith said his team is working “closely” with highways authorities on the project.

“We will be making improvements to the roundabout at M11 junction 7a,” he said.

“We have done some significant traffic modelling.

“In general, the proposed site would improve travel times.”

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16 Comments for New hospital for Harlow can cope with 23,000 new homes say bosses:

2023-08-04 15:10:50

Here we go again. Why do we need the hospital closer to Sawbridgeworth and Bishop's Stortford? If that's so important build one closer but keep PAH where it is. We have Old Harlow, Harlow New Town and now we're getting a 'Newer Town' which seems to be disregarding the original parts of the Town. And is it just me or has the year moved again? 2029 as promised. Promised when? Like I said last time it's boring. Remember one thing- we're not stupid but we are laughing!

gary roberts
2023-08-04 15:20:10

You can almost hear the nonsense being spouted about the "new" hospital. Firstly it is not in Harlow so will have to cater for those in surrounding areas while Harlow council allegedly increases the population while not increasing the important, no vital, infrastructure. Is this development also a form of PFI that the Conservatives said was a disgraceful waste of money and resources. Halfon and his mates couldn't run a bath let alone providing important NHS services.

2023-08-04 15:20:30

Having the capacity to cope with 23,000 new homes is great...but how are they going to staff the hospital? The current hospital is just over 400 beds and is terribly short staffed every day. Completely baffling that no one is taking the NHS staffing crisis in to account here. You have have as many wards as you want...but you still need to staff them.

2023-08-04 15:26:53

The bottom line is that Harlow is losing its hospital and getting surrounded overloaded and ovèrwhelmed by Epping and Herts Councils cashing in on the government incentives for meeting their housing targets. Harlow has been sold down the river by both Conservative and Labour Parties. Vote accordingly in March. Time and an opportunity for other political parties to make an impact.. East Herts residents were so hacked off by the hggt development and the Conservatives that the Council went green at the first opportunity. Amersham went Lib Dem. It's disappointing that neither the Green party nor the Lib Dems have so far had the gumption to put their heads out of the trench.

2023-08-04 17:16:06

Harlow has well and truly died. We have been so mugged off and trampled over and now we are even losing our hospital. I have lived here for over 50 years and i was born in pah,i dont drive but the hospital is in walking distance,so i hope that there is going to be a fantastic regular and reliable bus service or that i dont ever need to go to the new hospital. This constant ignoring what long term Harlow residents want and need is always ignored and all the councillors/developers just do what is good for them. None of them care at all about us and we are at the bottom of the pile.I am so fed up and bored with these stupid developers and councillors thinking they know what us long term Harlow residents want,dont you speak for me,you are all liars and the developers are a disgrace the way the gloss over all this constant building of new homes. Big high rises in the smallest spaces and nowhere to park hundreds of yet more cars/ vans. Its a joke.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-08-04 18:47:38

A numbering of interesting points with the article and replies. "The hospital will be able to grow from day one", well surely that is one of the problems with the present site, services are doted across the whole of the site in no sort of order. The new site is on the eastern eastern edge of the catchment area, patients much further east would be going to Broomfield hospital? The present site will still be in the middle of the catchment area, where thousands more people will be living in the town centre in a decades time and only a mile and a half from the Gilston development. Finally the developers will be building a health care hub but the NHS will have to pay for a lease. Well if the developers are anything like those building homes off Gilden Way, don't hold your breath!

2023-08-04 19:17:06

Amy your so right, they can't even staff pah let alone an extra 23000 homes!!

Nicholas Taylor
2023-08-04 23:07:24

Meant to say earlier a number of interesting points of course. Another one is the issue of staff living near PAH, many doing shift work, who will have to get to a new hospital some three miles away. A new Lister House costing £9 million has never seen services improve, without more staff they never will, the same goes for the new hospital.

2023-08-05 07:04:49

Bigger hospital bigger saleries for the admin likes of Michael Meredith. Also nhs having to lease from developers smacks the disastrous Private Public Partnership deals that drained the public purse and filled the pockets the private developers whilst the buildings fell apart. Harlow site gets used for housing development for executive homes as Harlow is advertised as a good commuter spot for those getting out of London: overloading the town whilst the same private developers cash in. One has to remember that the Conservative party receives large donations from property developers and via the property market, foreign investors including Russian oligarchs and friends from China, made the uk an ideal place for money laundering whilst forcing millions of our population into high priced private rented accommodation and others into near poverty. It does not bode well that on top of this the nhs has been deliberately crippled to force people pay for private treatment and the nhs to come to now depend on the private sector since Margaret Thatcher began the policy of privatisation by stealth. See the writing on the wall especially as Labour and Sir Keir Starmer are being duped into backing this policy.

Alan Hall
2023-08-05 07:14:32

As someone living in Bishop’s Stortford, it seems to me that, on balance, the proposed location is a most appropriate site. Understandably, and as a former long-standing Harlow resident myself, I can see why Harlow residents like the existing site, being reasonably central - at present - and close to the hub of the bus network. However, the existing site is still constrained, on-site development would be unnecessarily difficult and, more importantly, much-needed capacity and health services would be taken away during the development period for a number of years. Whereas I can see that the new site has the ability to expand (subject to future funding), with adjacent fields being available. Also, the existing site is a prime site for housing, enabling the capital receipt from the land to contribute towards the hospital building costs. Secondly, Harlow is expanding to the South (Rye Hill) and East (Gilden Way - close to the new hospital). Therefore, wherever the hospital is located, it will be a distance from some residential areas. However, access to the new hospital from the Rye Hill site would be similar - if not better - than existing, since residents could easily travel up the M11 from J7 to J7a via the proposed new access road. Thirdly, and a reason which I appreciate Harlow residents often forget, is that both the existing and the new hospitals are / will be a regional hospital - not only serving Harlow, but the large (and expanding) Bishops Stortford and all settlements to the North, East and South of Harlow - including Epping and North Weald and the villages to the East. Of course, we all pay our taxes and are all equally entitled to access to (quality) health services - wherever the facility is located. As for the suggestion that another hospital could be situated in/near Bishops Stortford - I’m afraid that there just aren’t the National resources to fund a second hospital in the area - it just wouldn’t happen. There are always drawbacks to any proposal - as with the new site - mainly, being away from Harlow’s bus hub and the greater difficulty for workers to walk from their homes (around the town centre) to the new hospital. But, on balance, I think the proposed site is much better than other options.

Guy Flegman
2023-08-05 08:33:59

Are there any plans to build a cycle way or even a pedestrian route from old Harlow to the new site. At the moment you can’t walk from gilden park to the proposed new site. Also if we struggle to staff the existing hospital, how will they find the staff for a bigger hospital that is more difficult to access if you do not own a vehicle. Also building it on leased land is a recipe for disaster.

Nicholas Taylor
2023-08-05 09:47:39

Alan, a new site may suit yourself but what about those living in Roydon, Nazeing, Stansted Abbots, Ware and all those to the West of Harlow. Lets not forget that those going to live in the new Gilston development will be able to get to the hospital on the present site in minutes by using the new transport corridor to the Town Centre. A new hospital will have to have all services on site before a ward could be opened, whereas transition to a new hospital on the present site could see services moved to new buildings in phased stages.

Kim Oconnor
2023-08-05 09:54:57

Build it before building all theses unaffordable housing estates... Or its only going to get worse, , if that's possible.

2023-08-05 10:15:30

There's no "new" hospital. They are just relocating Princess Alexandra Hospital. If Harlow was going to get a NEW hospital, PAH would stay open in the same location where is now, and something else will be built in the proposed area.

Jamie W
2023-08-06 16:01:51

So the new hospital in Harlow won't be in Harlow then?

Nicholas Taylor
2023-08-06 22:28:18

Jamie W. Nope! Easier to convince people it is alright to build a hospital on the Green Belt rather than 550 homes, which is the number set to be built on the current PAH site.

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