LONG-RUNNING efforts to replace the old Shotley Bridge Hospital have taken a big step forward with the submission of a planning application for a new purpose-built community health center in Consett.
The proposals would see the new hospital built on land in Derwent View, south of Puddlers Corner Roundabout, on Genesis Way, opposite the Tesco Extra store.
The site is 1.8 miles from Shotley Bridge Hospital, requiring significant investment to maintain its facilities.
Shotley Bridge Hospital Photograph: SARAH CALDECOTT
Health officials say the plans are an opportunity to transform services around the needs of local residents. Proposals include a 16-bed inpatient rehabilitation ward, an urgent treatment center, an expanded chemotherapy room and diagnostic services.
Jane Curry, Program Manager at County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is an exciting development for the local people in Derwentside and the wider County Durham healthcare community, it is part of the government’s commitment to build or significantly expand 48 new hospitals. . Shotley Bridge has been identified as a cohort two development.
“We look forward to continuing discussions with our NHS colleagues and local communities and making progress on the scheme in the years to come.”
An artist’s rendering of the new Shotley Bridge Community Hospital Image: MEDICAL ARCHITECTURE
Hanna Hardy, Procurement Leader at NHS Property Services who is advising on the project, added: “This is an exciting milestone for this project to apply for reserved matters and builds on many years of work from local partners.
“We look forward to continuing to work with the trust, as well as our contractors, planning and technical advisors, and architects as we move through the formal approval process with the New Hospitals Program and the next stage of design.”
General planning permission for a mixed-use commercial, residential and healthcare development on the site was granted in February 2020 following long-standing concerns about the condition of the facilities at Shotley Bridge Hospital.
The Covid pandemic delayed progress on the replacement hospital, but funding was confirmed in October 2020.
Conceptual sketch of the new hospital Image: MEDICAL ARCHITECTURE
In documents filed with Durham County Council, DPP Planning, which is working with the trust on the application, states: “There has long been a need to replace the old Shotley Bridge healthcare facility in the County Durham Although it was extended in 1990 and 2001 respectively, the main body of the building’s infrastructure is around 40 years old and has exceeded its operational life.
“The hospital is now in disrepair, requiring ever-higher levels of back and reactive spending and £8.3m of work – £4m is critical to rectify the situation. It suffers from misused and no longer considered fit for purpose in the context of current models of care.
“In addition, in October 2020, the replacement Shotley Bridge Community Hospital was identified as one of 40 national hospitals to be built by 2030 and to receive government funding. The new facility is part of the government’s grading agenda for the North”.
The site of the new proposed Shotley Bridge Community Hospital Image: MEDICAL ARCHITECTURE
Plans include new pedestrian and cycle links, two new bus stops on the A692 and 145 parking spaces. There would also be two gardens within the courtyards, one for visitors, patients and staff, and another as a private space available for patients and staff to assist in rehabilitation.
Designers and healthcare architects Medical Architecture describe the concept for the new hospital as “an environment that enhances mental health and aids recovery, supporting a healthier and happier community.”
Director Lianne Knotts said: “From the early design stages, the importance of this new hospital was clear and we set out to design a venue that would inspire a sense of local pride.
The site of the proposed new hospital in Consett, left Photo: GOOGLE
“The building welcomes everyone and creates a caring environment that promotes wellness and recovery. While it allows for today’s highest standards of healthcare, it has the flexibility to accommodate the future healthcare needs of the community.”
Simon Woods, Construction Manager at Tilbury Douglas Construction, added: “The submission of the formal planning application is a significant milestone for the project. Our design team and partners have worked with the trust and planners to provide a scheme that will benefit the local community for many years.
“The construction of the new hospital will benefit the local area, both during the construction period through new jobs and local investment, and during the life of the building.”
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