Long-awaited scheme to modernise 1940s buildings given the green light
The London Borough of Harrow has given the green light for the long-awaited redevelopment of the flagship Royal National Hospital (RNOH) in Stanmore.
The decision to approve the £90m proposal is the culmination of more than three decades of efforts to modernise the site and create a physical environment that matches the hospital’s status as one of the UK’s leading orthopaedic centres.
Rob Hurd, RNOH chief executive, said; “This is a great day for the trust and all our patients and staff. These plans have been talked about for more than 30 years so we are delighted to see them finally get the green light. We are extremely proud of our reputation as a world-class provider of specialist orthopaedic and musculo-skeletal care and wanted to do everything we could to preserve this.
These plans have been talked about for more than 30 years so we are delighted to see them finally get the green light
“The decision will mean our vision for providing exemplary healthcare for our patients and our ability to remain as a national and international centre of excellence can now be realised. I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to get us to this point.”
The thumbs-up was given at a special meeting of the council’s planning committee. Portfolio holder for planning and regeneration, Councillor Keith Ferry, said: “This hospital is one of the jewels in the crown of our borough and this redevelopment is the result of years of collaboration between RNOH staff and the Harrow planning service. This will allow it to continue the fantastic work that it does to provide treatment and care for patients in a modern environment.”
The decision also safeguards the jobs of more than 1,300 people who currently work at the site. In addition, the building contracts for the construction work will provide opportunities for local community employment, including a number of apprenticeships.
More than 60% of the RNOH’s current buildings were built around 1940, with a number of the patient wards originally designated only for temporary use during the war. The new plans will create state-of-the-art facilities that will be fit for modern day clinical practice, with features including new wards, imaging and ancillary clinical services; a multi-storey car park; new buildings including ‘home away from home’ accommodation unit for parents and children; a private patient unit; a new staff accommodation block; and residential units. The proposals will also enable greater public access to greenbelt land while preserving and enhancing the ecological value of the site.
Hurd said: “As the hospital has grown, there has been little co-ordination in the placing of new buildings, leaving it without an easily identifiable main entrance. Distance between buildings means long periods of travel, which may include going outside or over steep or uneven gradients. The RNOH wants to bring its ageing buildings into the 21st Century, creating facilities that reflect the world-class clinical outcomes the trust is renowned for.”
The first phase of the development will be the creation of an inpatient facility with accommodation for adults and children, embedded therapy areas, an imaging department and landscaped gardens to boost rehabilitation. These grounds will include barbecue areas and social spaces.
This hospital is one of the jewels in the crown of our borough and this redevelopment will allow it to continue the fantastic work that it does to provide treatment and care for patients in a modern environment
The impatient facilities will provide 124 beds, the majority of which will be in single rooms, helping to improve privacy and dignity and reduce the spread of infection.
A children’s activity centre and café will be the centrepiece of the main entrance and there will be disabled access throughout.
Building work is expected to begin later this year and the new hospital will be completed by 2016. The hospital is being funded through PFI and the trust currently has two bidders - Balfour Beatty and Bouygues. It plans to choose its preferred bidder in August. The bidders have appointed architectural firms BDP and Hopkins respectively, and the trust’s advisors for the project is Devereux Architects.