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
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
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.