19th April 2018 Public Meeting

Harpenden Health and Wellbeing Centre ‘ready for use' by late 2020, says project team.

An audience of over 150 of the town's residents, at a meeting convened by The Harpenden Society in conjunction with Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust at Rothamsted Research's Fowden Hall on April 19, heard that the new Health and Wellbeing Centre could be ‘ready for use' in late 2020. A planning application for the new centre and an adjacent housing development is on track to be submitted to St Albans District Council in a few weeks.

Harpenden's Town Clerk Carl Cheevers opened the session with a resume of ‘The Neighbourhood Plan' and the importance of providing improved social services for Harpenden's growing population. He said “To me it was a great success and a step forward in building community support for what could be a wonderful local facility.”

The NHS Trust team took to the lectern.

Marion Dunstone, Director of Operations for Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust gave a strategic overview of the situation and explained how all the parties involved had taken the development forward to its present state.

Ed Knowles from the Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group - the NHS body which buys healthcare services for the local area - also gave background information on likely future demands for health services and how the new centre would form part of the response to these demands. Marion said “We are really excited by the prospect of bringing a new healthcare facility to Harpenden. Our proposals would provide a range of healthcare services in a building which is fit for the 21st century. Thanks to support from The Harpenden Society, the Red House Forum and colleagues at town, district and county councils and within the local NHS, we are now in a strong position to make our scheme a reality. We look forward to continuing to work with local groups and the community as our plans progress.”

Finally Diane Brent the assistant director of facilities talked through the practical issues around creating the new centre and what it would provide:

Redeveloping the whole of the existing Harpenden Memorial Hospital site to create a new health and wellbeing centre in the existing Stewarts building, funded by the sale of the remainder of the site for a new housing development.

Subject to planning permission, the housing development would include affordable homes and would see the Red House building converted into apartments

Working with local NHS hospitals to provide a range of desirable services like Diabetes, Leg Ulcer, Bladder and Bowel service for adults; Blood tests; Speech and Language Therapy service for children.

Offering local volunteer groups the option of using the new centre in the evenings and weekends.

Protecting the ecology of the site to maintain its natural ‘green' features.

A very lively audience Q & A concluded the evening with dozens of questions many of which were answered by Russ Charlesworth the Estates Project Advisor.

Nikki Sharkey with Ruth Bradford. Giving out goody bags including information about becoming a member of HCT.
Group shot: left to right
Marion Dunstone, Director of Operations
Lynda Edwards, Clinical Lead for School Nursing
Tess Gartside, Team Lead for Health Visiting
Carl Cheevers, Harpenden Town Clerk
Diane Brent, Associate Director of Estates and Facilities
Phil Waters, The Harpenden Society chair
Right at the back with blonde hair - Laura Catterall, Locality Manager (Adult Services) for St Albans and Harpenden
Nikki Sharkey, Locality Manager (Children's Services) for St Albans and Harpenden
Jeff Philips, Non-Executive Director
Above: Marion Dunstone, (left) Director of Operations being interviewed on Nickey Radio
Above. Talking to NHS staff about the new Centre.

Below: Phil Waters (left) Harpenden Society chair talking about the success of the evening