Turf cutting marks the start on site for £10.5 million new health hub in Bakewell
A turf cutting ceremony marked the start of building work on a £10.5 million NHS integrated health hub in Bakewell which will provide brand new facilities for community health services and an ambulance service base.
The scheme has been developed in partnership between Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust and East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust to rejuvenate health facilities for people living in Bakewell and the Derbyshire Dales.
Kier, a leading provider of construction and infrastructure services, has been appointed to construct the new health hub, on Baslow Road, which is due to be handed over to the NHS in late 2023 and will open for healthcare in early 2024. It will provide a modern new home for community health services currently provided in the adjacent outdated 19th century Newholme Hospital, which is earmarked for closure, and the neighbouring former ambulance station which is being demolished to make way for the new health hub.
Prem Singh, chairman of Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust, welcomed guests to the turf cutting ceremony on Wednesday 24 August. He said: “This investment in healthcare will help to future-proof local health service provision for the next generations of residents in the Bakewell area.
“We are delighted to be working in close partnership with our ambulance service colleagues to create integrated facilities which support the principle of joined-up care. It has taken a lot of planning, over several years, to get to this stage. We’re delivering on a facility which will be a legacy to the future health needs of the local community. We can now enjoy seeing the new building take shape over the coming months, knowing what fantastic facilities will be provided when the doors open in early 2024.”
Andrew Magee, head of operations for Derbyshire at East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: "This is another really exciting step in the development of the new health hub for Bakewell and we can’t wait to see it progress over the coming months. We have been working closely in partnership with Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust over a long period of time to make sure this development reflects our commitment to providing the best service to the community and our patients.
"Not only will this new building and its modern facilities be such an improvement on our old ambulance station, but by physically sharing a space together it will undoubtedly build on our relationships and understanding of one another’s organisations and work we do to support our communities."
Newholme Hospital’s League of Friends, which has done so much to support the work of the hospital’s staff and patients over many decades, is due to wind up its charity and to transfer its residual funds towards the new building. Pat Lunn, chair of the League of Friends, was a VIP guest at the turf cutting ceremony, and was thanked for the league’s generosity and for many years’ service in support of local patient care.
Architect’s plans for the new integrated health hub were first shared in late 2020 for public feedback and comments. Planning permission was granted in 2021 and contractors Kier moved on site in July 2022 to begin preparing for the construction work. It is part funded with £8.58m awarded by the Department of Health and Social Care, under the government’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, as a health regeneration scheme.
Building designs have been carefully considered to be sympathetic to the heritage of the area. Jacob Peplow, architect at Race Cottam Associates, who developed the building design, said: “Our design was carefully considered, not only to provide modern facilities, but also to reflect the area’s heritage and character, including the use of locally sourced gritstone and limestone, and traditional design references. The turf cutting represents a significant step forward in creating a high-quality facility that will benefit thousands in the community.”
Martin Williamson, operations manager for Kier Construction North & Scotland, said: “We are delighted to have been appointed to join the Trust team to deliver this important healthcare facility for the people of Bakewell and surrounding areas. As leading healthcare contractors, we’re looking forward to using our expertise to create this new integrated health hub which will leaving a lasting legacy for the community."
The new building will include an East Midlands Ambulance Service hub on the ground floor, as well as a waiting area, accessible Changing Places toilet and toilet facilities. On the upper floor, reached by two lifts and a staircase, there will be a total of 10 consultation rooms and four treatment rooms as well as a children’s area, group room, office space, large waiting area, baby feeding and changing rooms, toilets and reception.
All 14 NHS outpatient specialties provided at Newholme Hospital will to be moving across into the new building when it is ready. These include audiology, children’s services, complex wound care, continence clinic, diabetes education, diabetic retinopathy, health psychology, integrated community nursing and community therapy, older people’s mental health (Living Well with Dementia), Parkinson’s clinic, physiotherapy and musculoskeletal services, podiatry, speech and language therapy and Long Covid research (via the Stimulate project).
The 19th century Newholme Hospital was earmarked for closure, as unsuitable for the provision of modern healthcare, in the 2017 Better Care Closer to Home consultation by health service commissioners.
The hospital site is owned by NHS Property Services who are closely involved and supportive of the regeneration scheme to build the new health hub. NHS Property Services has sold to Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust a strip of land at the edge of Newholme Hospital, incorporating the former Riverside Ward building. East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust transferred ownership of the adjacent ambulance station site to the community NHS Trust in order to develop the integrated health hub.
The NHS team worked closely with Peak Park Authority to ensure the designs for the new building were sympathetic to the heritage of the area while also providing a building which is suitable to meet the needs of 21st century community-based healthcare.