Watford Borough Council’s Development Management Committee granted outline planning permission for West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust’s plans to transform its Watford General Hospital site at their meeting yesterday (Wednesday, July 28).
This marks a major step forward in the Trust’s ambitions to deliver improved hospital buildings and facilities at Watford which will service people from across the West Hertfordshire region.
The new 1000-bed hospital aims to deliver a better overall experience to patients and staff.
Elected Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor said: “It has taken us 10 years to achieve this milestone. I am absolutely delighted that the new hospital – which we have lobbied strongly for to remain in our town – is now becoming a reality. 80 per cent of the current hospital is in a poor condition – we are now on the way to having state of the art facilities that will be excellent for patients and our NHS workers. This is great news for our town.”
Planning permission was granted for three new clinical buildings including a specialist Women’s and Children’s block at the lower end of the site, near Thomas Sawyer Way. This allows for the current hospital to stay operational throughout the build programme.
The plans will completely transform the way the site looks and how care is provided: there will be more single occupancy rooms, an expanded emergency department, a new theatre complex, the latest diagnostics and better facilities for staff training and education. The site will be landscaped with a green central access pathway and public artworks.
Addressing councillors, Duane Passman, the trust’s acute redevelopment programme director, said: “The Watford General Hospital redevelopment is not a like for like replacement, it will embrace the opportunities afforded by new medical and digital technologies, emerging models of care and also the learning from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Following the granting of permission, which stipulates that the trust must develop a green travel plan and provide funding to support improvements to public transport and access to the site, he said: “We are delighted to have moved another step closer to providing better hospital buildings for our patients across west Herts.”
The new hospital will be built to international green buildings standard BREEAM and will incorporate a range of energy efficiency measures and low carbon materials.
£1 million will be set aside to improve access to the new hospital with new cycling and pedestrian routes, improvements to Thomas Sawyer Way and new bus routes to the site. A new energy centre and retail units, will also form part of the development.