26 March 2010
The £1bn Watford Health Campus took a further significant step towards becoming a reality this week, when the key Campus landowners took part in a formal ceremony to sign a Section 106 agreement that will secure funding to considerably boost Watford’s public infrastructure.
This important milestone means that outline planning permission can now be granted for the Campus – one of the country’s largest health regeneration projects, listed at number 32 in Regeneration and Renewal Magazine’s “Top 100” schemes. Watford Borough Council previously resolved to grant permission in July 2008.
The Watford Health Campus is a 26.5 hectare site which, through careful and sympathetic design, will provide a new circa 600-bed hospital to replace the existing Watford General Hospital, in excess of 500 new homes including residencies for health and other key workers, new business units, a hotel, leisure and recreation premises and a new combined heat and power plant, as well as significant new urban green space.
The planning obligation/Section 106 agreement provides for a potential contribution of over £2m from the Campus to substantially increase and enhance facilities and support services within the West Watford area.
The planning obligation secures the following measures to deal with infrastructure improvements required as a result of the development:
• Support to bus services in the area;
• Improved cycle routes associated with the development;
• Setting up a car and cycle club;
• Access to a travel centre and travel plan co-ordinator within the site;
• A Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) on the Campus;
• Contributions to traffic management in and around the west Watford area delivering improvements to local roads;
• Junctions improvements to improve capacity and reduce queuing;
• Enhanced local traffic calming measures and parking zones;
• Up to £500k contribution towards the provision of new outdoor playing fields at Radlett Road and Gammons Lane, as well as new changing facilities at the Radlett Road site and improved tennis courts at Watford Heath.
Furthermore, financial assistance to local schools, youth and childcare facilities and libraries will also enhance those specific neighbourhood services, all of which form part of the agreement.
Speaking of the Section 106 agreement signing, Elected Mayor of Watford, Dorothy Thornhill, said: “I know how important the hospital and regeneration plans are to the people of Watford. This is another step closer to making it real.”
Steve Cox, Executive Director of Spatial Economy at EEDA, added: "This is a landmark moment in the Watford Health Campus project. It will transform this part of Watford creating jobs and supporting businesses. Only by working together with our partners are we able to bring a huge amount of public and private sector funding to the town. It will deliver regeneration to the area, which is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable."
Meanwhile, Jan Filochowski, Chief Executive of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, commented: “I am delighted that we have reached yet another significant milestone in the Watford Health Campus project. I look forward to continuing to work with the other stakeholders to deliver improved health facilities, as well as enhancing vital facilities for the wider community.”
Present at the signing ceremony will be:
• Dorothy Thornhill, the Elected Mayor of Watford
• Manny Lewis, The Managing Director of Watford Borough Council
• Jan Filochowski, CEO of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust
• Tom Cahill, CEO of Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, and
• Steve Cox, Executive Director, Spatial Economy at EEDA.