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Outline planning proposals

In 2020, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust was announced as one of 40 new hospitals to be built by 2030 as part of the Government’s Health Infrastructure Plan. This is the biggest hospital building programme for a generation – a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver a new health and care facility for the people of West Suffolk.

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust needs a new hospital. Whilst we, the Trust, have invested heavily in the upkeep of our buildings over recent years to ensure that the existing hospital is appropriately maintained, many of the buildings are approaching the end of their usable life and are showing signs of significant wear and tear. The buildings and the layout of the hospital also have limitations that do not allow us to deliver the 21st century healthcare that we believe our patients and staff deserve.

We are in the early stages of our journey to design and develop our new hospital. The process of building a hospital is complex, a series of business cases need treasury approval, and it will only be at this point that we can definitively answer many questions that you may have, but we are committed to make this a reality. That is why, following the announcement of Hardwick Manor as our preferred site in December 2020, we are continuing to explore what might be possible to deliver on this site and we will be submitting an outline planning application early in 2022. We are seeking outline planning permission at this early stage due to the structural challenges facing our existing hospital and the need to secure some surety on the viability of building a new hospital on the Hardwick Manor site. Should we not obtain planning permission for Hardwick Manor, work will need to be undertaken to secure an alternative site which could delay our project and subsequently exacerbate the risks associated with our current deteriorating infrastructure.

The process of applying for outline planning permission simply seeks to determine if the principle of a new hospital on the Hardwick Manor site is acceptable. The application will also examine the maximum size of any building, its location and look at other external matters like highway capacity. The current illustrative proposals that have been developed seek to provide maximum flexibility for the future and an understanding of what might be possible. The more detailed design proposals will be the subject of future detailed planning applications.

Our team really enjoyed meeting and talking to so many of you, both virtually and face to face, at our first phase of pre-application public planning engagement earlier this year. The feedback received highlighted a number of key considerations that we have taken on board.

Securing outline planning permission is a significant milestone on our journey to building a new hospital and we hope you will support us in bringing this to fruition. Should the outline planning application be supported and approved, this will mean that the site could become our new home and your new hospital for generations to come, where your future children and grandchildren will be born, mothers and fathers will be treated, and our workforce of the future will aspire to work. The submission of the outline planning application means that we are one step closer to making this a reality.

This is a chance to make a genuine difference to the health and lives of our local community and we want as many people as possible to get involved to help us to design and assist in bringing this vision to life.

Visit https://www.wsh.nhs.uk/New-healthcare-facility/ for more information and how to get involved.