Councillors to decide on plans for new Hornchurch health hub

St George's health and wellbeing hub

Plans for a new health and wellbeing centre at the former St George’s Hospital site are to come before the council's strategic planning committee on Thursday (November 4). - Credit: NELFT/Bryden Wood

Plans for a new health hub at the former St George's Hospital site in Hornchurch are to come before councillors this week.

The proposal - fronted by the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) - would see a range of services relocated out of Romford's Queen's Hospital to the Suttons Lane site.

While an initial proposal for a 3,000sqm facility was approved in June 2020, it was later identified that additional services - namely the renal and frailty services provided by Queen's - need to be moved.

This required a fresh application for a 4,629sqm facility, which was submitted in May after a preliminary consultation took place in April.

That application will be determined tomorrow night by Havering's strategic planning committee (Thursday, November 4).

As well as planning to relocate renal and frailty services, an early diagnostic unit for cancer is also included in the plans.

Community services such as podiatry and speech and language therapy would also operate from the new St George's facility, alongside mental health provision.

The outline business case included in support of the application states that the facility is needed to ease the pressure on Queen's, while the planning statement argues that south Havering needs "new or expanded health facilities".

One of the key considerations for the scheme is that it is located on a Green Belt site.

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National planning policy states that NELFT has to prove that "very special circumstances" exist which outweigh the harm to the Green Belt.

For this, it outlines the healthcare need in Havering, arguing this facility will accommodate at least 15,000 patients by 2022 and 20,000 patients by 2028.

NELFT also argues the merits of having an early diagnostic unit for cancer.

The recommendation for the committee is to grant the application, subject to an agreement which would require a £35,000 contribution from the developer to improve the surrounding roads.

This includes a traffic island in Suttons Lane by the existing entrance to site, a speed table at the existing toucan crossing in Suttons Lane by Squadrons Approach and a traffic island installed in Airfield Way.

If approved by the council, it would then be referred to the Mayor of London.

To learn more about the proposal, visit nelft.nhs.uk/our-proposals.

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