© 2017 The Harpenden Society
Red House’ redevelopment on course for April 2019 opening
Ambitious plans for the future of the Harpenden Memorial Hospital site as a ‘Health and Wellbeing Campus’ were spelled out by David Law, chief executive of Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (NCT), at a packed meeting of the Harpenden Society on February 25.
He emphasised that new buildings were just part of the outline plans for the proposed facility in Carlton Road, while adding that, because of its age and functional unsuitability, the venerable and historic Red House building itself could not be part of the projected development.
The intention was, said Mr Law, that it would be sold, together with other ‘surplus land’ on the site in order to generate much of the funding required to set up the new Health and Wellbeing centre. He stressed however that none of the surplus land would be sold for housing development, though a care home for the elderly was a distinct possibility.
Outline approval had been given by the HCT board for the scheme to go ahead, though he cautioned that an administratively lengthy process lay ahead before building work could begin. Planning consent had to be obtained from St Albans District Council and a ‘preferred bidder’ selected from contending development companies.
Nevertheless a target date of April 2019 had been set for the opening of the new facility. Answering a question from the audience as to how confident he was that the timescale target would be met, Mr Law said that, as someone with a ‘half full’ rather than a ‘half empty’ disposition, he put his confidence level on the projected timescale at 90%.
He made clear that a wide range of illness-prevention as well as direct health services would be available at the centre, notably advisory services intended to help residents of Harpenden maintain a healthy lifestyle, in turn helping reduce pressure on already-stretched local hospitals.
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From left to right, David Law, Cllr Teresa Heritage, Harpenden Society’s Eric Midwinter
David Law, Chief Executive, Hertfordshire’s Community Trust