Former Leader of Havering Council, Ray Harris calling for retirement village to be built on St George’s Hospital site

St George's Hospital

St George's Hospital - Credit: Archant

The former leader of Havering Council is calling for a retirement village to be built on the St George’s Hospital site.

Ray Harris, who served on the council from 1998 to 2002 says that the NHS should consider building an independent living facility for older people instead of selling off 90 per cent of the Suttons Lane site.

He said: “The likelihood is that it is going to be sold on to developers who will build homes which will just exasperate the over stretched facilities.

“A retirement village would be an asset to the community.”

Havering’s Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is currently consulting on seven options to redevelop the site.

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The group’s preferred option includes turning the site into a “centre of excellence for older people” that could see a new building housing GP services, community health services, social workers and other professionals.

But this involves selling all the existing buildings, which were built in the 1930s. Ten per cent of the estate would remain in NHS hands.

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Ray says that his proposals would meet the demand of Havering’s ever growing elderly population and would be in keeping with the history of the site.

He said: “Havering has one of the highest population of elderly people and something needs to be done to provide for this older community.

“This would provide a community with residential accommodation and medical facilities all on the same site.”

Ray took inspiration for the retirement village from his visits to Europe.

He posted information about his proposals on community website Streetlife and within a few weeks he says that he has been inundated with comments.

He said: “European approach to looking after elderly people is very different.

“I really think that we could learn a lot from them.”

He added: “I was in the supermarket the other day and a man stopped me and started talking about the retirement village.

“I have also had lots of support from people in Hornchurch.”

A spokesman for Havering CCG said: “The St George’s site is 11.9 hectares or 29.3 acres. We would need approximately 10% of the site to develop our proposals, so we will sell the remaining land.

“The CCG is in discussion with Havering planning officers to determine the best alternative uses for the site before we start to advertise for a potential developer/buyer. Local people will be able to tell the council what they think about any plans.”

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