Hot news 4 - Northwood Hills Residents Association

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Hot news 4

The Northwood Hills Residents Association, not least your Chairman Andrew Riley, has been a staunch ally in the long campaign to bring the Northwood and Pinner Cottage Hospital back into life as an asset for the community.
Things were looking bad for a while. It was clear that the NHS didn’t care about the site anymore and the dilapidation of this once proud building was very depressing. Promises were made by people, now long since moved on, but nothing seemed to happen. Then the NHS declared its surplus to requirements and a decision was taken to sell it. My concern, shared by many, was that if we did nothing all we would get was more high priced flats. So for some time now, we have put pressure on the NHS to remember past promises that the war memorial would be respected and that any redevelopment would deliver some community health benefit.
I am pleased to report some progress. NHS Estates have confirmed to me that their Plan A is to do a redevelopment that combines two things. First they want to upgrade the Northwood Health Centre and physically move it into the main Hospital building. In that process, the commitment is to preserve the historic facade of the main building and the war memorial. Secondly they want to redevelop the rest of the site, including the old Health Centre site, for accommodation. I have pressed them for years to consider a mix that includes additional sheltered or extra care accommodation, given the demographics that suggest that we will need more of that type of accommodation. They are open to this, not least as the market is increasingly wanting this and that is reflected in valuations that developers are prepared to pay.
The NHS are not just talking about it now: I am at last seeing some action. They have engaged with the Health Centre GP practices, who themselves are keen to upgrade their offer to residents, and I hear those conversations have been constructive. Early conversations are taking place with Hillingdon Planning, who I am sure will want to feel comfortable that the accommodation is suitable in scale and quality for the area. An important issue to be resolved is the position of the Hillingdon CCG who, as local health care commissioners, need to approve the project. They have assured me that they are supportive in principle. In fact, the issue now in their mind is whether they should commission extra services on the site as part of their plans to develop a new “hub” of primary care services in the North of the Borough. Hopefully this will be resolved in the coming months, and a planning application will be forthcoming before the summer.
The community raised the funds for the original hospital. It is part of the local fabric and thanks to our collective efforts, the NHS are well aware that they need to get this right, or risk “unleashing hell!” We were promised that the site would continue to deliver health services to the community and that promise needs to be kept.

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