Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has submitted a planning application for the new multi-million-pound hospital in Berwick. The trust is seeking permission from Northumberland County Council for the two-storey integrated hospital on the site of the existing infirmary. If planning approval is granted, the building will have a central atrium/reception space and accommodate all the existing services and Well Close Medical Group.
The submission of the planning application follows extensive engagement with staff, residents and community groups with more than 95 per cent of people involved in this process supporting the proposals. The trust is also assuring the local community that the £25million earmarked for this facility is still available and the funding has not been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Marion Dickson, executive director at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, who is leading the Berwick redevelopment project, said “We are absolutely delighted that our plans for a new hospital in Berwick have moved forward with the submission of our planning application. We have been working towards formally seeking planning permission for some months and we would like to thank the local community for their invaluable input in this engagement – to have had such a positive response to our proposals is excellent.
“While the NHS has faced many challenges in recent months, we can assure local people that there is no doubt over the funding for the new hospital and the £25million set aside is intact. We are also confident that the project can be delivered within this budget and we look forward to the next stage of this exciting development.”
More than 200 people attended a drop-in session in the town in March to view the new hospital proposals with more than 100 people giving feedback as part of the online planning consultation after a further drop-in session could not be held due to government restrictions. Alongside this process, the trust has undertaken extensive engagement on all clinical aspects of the hospital, with clinical teams having a major input into its design to ensure it supports an improved experience for patients and is fit for the future.
The hospital’s modern design incorporates sustainability and efficiency in the final choice of materials and will embrace the latest technology in delivering the highest quality of care. The existing Bell Tower is retained as part of the plans and the trust is looking into its potential use for the community. Services will continue to be provided throughout this process and the winning images from the photography competition are set to be placed on the hoardings in the coming weeks.
The target completion date for the new hospital is spring 2022.