News round-up: Construction and design


Read on for our weekly round-up of healthcare construction and design news, including completions, new contract wins, up-coming developments and the deployment of innovative products

Luxury homes plan for former hospital

TRAFFORD Council's planning committee has approved an application to transform a disused former hospital in Bowdon into luxury accommodation. The PJ Livesey Group will convert the former St Anne’s Hospital into 22 new homes, bringing the three distinctive Victorian buildings on the site back into use. Work will begin once the planning agreement is signed. The site is currently owned by Trafford Healthcare NHS Trust, which plans to use the proceeds from the sale to help fund construction of a new hospital to replace Altrincham General Hospital, which is now in poor condition.

Go-ahead for Merseyside mental health facilities

We wanted to give mental health services a place and presence, not only in the local community, but also a recognisable landmark in the city

HEALTHCARE design specialist, Medical Architecture (MA), has won planning permission for the development of new mental health and learning disability services across Merseyside. Forming part of the Mersey Care NHS Trust’s TIME modernisation programme, the £18.5m scheme will see the development of recovery-based accommodation made up of 85 inpatient beds for acute adult care, together with older people’s and dementia services. Access to fresh air and outside spaces were central to the designs, created by Camlin Lonsdale and Tony Danford of MA. The buildings will be engineered by Arup and are designed to be highly energy efficient. MA spokesman, Ulrike Schimmel, said: “We realised very early on that the building must make a statement about what and where it is. In response, we have designed a strong architectural form that addresses a derelict site in Edge Lane, Liverpool; simultaneously reducing stigma and promoting social inclusion. We are creating a healing environment that improves community engagement by being open, transparent and connected. We wanted to give mental health services a place and presence, not only in the local community, but also a recognisable landmark in the city.”

We are creating a healing environment that improves community engagement by being open, transparent and connected

Lothian sexual health centre launched

NHS Lothian's new Chalmers Sexual Health Centre has opened its doors. The facility has been designed to provide a purpose-built one-stop-shop for sexual health services in the region, combining the family planning and well women service previously based at Dean Terrace and the genito urinary medicine (GUM) department from the Lauristion Building. Work on converting the former Chalmers Hospital started in 2009 and the new £9m building provides an improved environment for patients and staff. Dr Gordon Scott, clinical director and GUM consultant for NHS Lothian, said: “Our new home will allow us to deliver a seamless service for the public where, for example, patients can receive advice on sexually transmitted infections and contraception at the same time.” The renovation and extension of the 140-year-old building has maintained the character of the original hospital while creating a modern and spacious city centre base. Clinical space is divided into four hubs to ensure privacy and low-carbon technologies have been used to reduce the environment impact of the facility, including sedum roof and solar panels. Inside a number of artworks have been commissioned, including a stained glass window designed by Scottish artist, Pinkie Maclure, which reflects the diversity of people who use the centre. Dr John Loudon, chairman of the Edinburgh Family Planning Trust, said: “The facilities are excellent and the integrated service will provide patients with high-quality expert care.”

Meal times improved at Suffolk community hospital

PATIENTS being cared for at Aldeburgh Community Hospital in Suffolk will be able to eat their meals in a bright new environment with the opening of a conservatory at the Park Road site. Previously, patients ate their meals by their beds, but now they will be able to enjoy lunch or dinner in the octagonal conservatory. The facility leads out of the refurbished day room and can accommodate up to 20 patients in a light and airy environment overlooking the hospital grounds. Locality lead, Margaret Frost, said: “This will be of great and lasting benefit to our patients. Walking to have their meals in the conservatory will be part of their therapy in moving about and becoming more active. They will also be able to socialise with the other patients and enjoy the gardens.” Technology including air conditioning has been incorporated to ensure a comfortable environment and energy-efficient measures installed to reduce running costs. It has been funded by the League of Friends.

Green credentials for Doncaster health centre

News round-up: Construction and design

A ‘LIVING’ roof has been installed at the Stone Castle Centre, a multi-million-pound health facility currently being built for NHS Doncaster. Designed to boost the green credentials of the two-storey building, the mass of sedum plants act as sponges, soaking up rainwater instead of allowing it to flow into the mains drainage system. The 12m by 10m lawn is separated from the flat aluminium roof by layers of sand and rubber. Doug Eastwood, site manager for construction partner, Morgan Sindall, said: “Some of the rainwater landing on the building’s aluminium roof will be ‘harvested’ and channeled into a 2,000litre tank, which will supply water to flush the building’s six public toilets. In periods of low rainfall an external mains supply will automatically kick in if the tank gets low. Other rainwater run-off will be trapped in a huge tank and released into the mains drainage at a steady rate to prevent the drains becoming blocked during stormy weather.” Costing £7m, the centre is on track to open next month, making it the eighth new ‘mega surgery’ to be built in the Doncaster area by Doncaster Community Solutions – a public/private sector partnership involving NHS Doncaster and Doncaster Council.

Special needs centre opens

YOUNGSTERS with special needs in Exeter and Devon are to benefit from a new £1.8m specialist child assessment centre. The centre, located next to Vranch House School in Exeter, is designed to improve access to NHS specialist assessment services for early-years children with additional needs. It will also ensure that children with profound disabilities get the support they need. The purpose-built centre has modern consulting rooms, assessment rooms, a physiotherapy department, a toy library and an outpatient area. Child development services currently based in the old Honeylands building will also relocate to the new facility. The centre was jointly funded by Vranch House, a charitable partner to NHS Devon and Devon County Council, which contributed £800,000; and Hutchison Wampoa Europe, which gave a further £1m, supported by Sir Li Ka-Shing, a Hong Kong businessman with links to the Honeylands League of Friends. In To acknowledge the gift, the new building has been officially named the Hutchison Whampoa Honeylands Children's Assessment Centre. Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust consultant paediatrician, Hazel Curtis, said: “This is a promising development of services for children with special needs and their families.”

Building work starts on Essex clinics

News round-up: Construction and design

BUILDING work on two new primary care centres serving the Westcliff and Southend areas of Essex could start as early as next week. The developments in North Road and Valkyrie Road will feature a range of services including GP surgeries, a pharmacy, blood clinics and community nursing services. It is also hoped they will become a community hub that can be used by local groups and residents. Dr Wendy Cordess of West Road Surgery said they were looking forward to moving into a 21st-century environment. She added: “We feel this will help us maintain a high standard of patient care and improve the services we can offer.” Margaret Hathaway, commercial director for the NHS in south Essex said work would start immediately. She added: “I’m delighted the deal has finally been done and construction can commence. Tis is excellent news for local NHS services and the population of Westcliff, which will benefit from the new health centres for many years.”

Dental surgery opens in Southampton

PEOPLE in Southampton can now benefit from a new dental practice in the centre of the City. Tooth Booth is located in East Street and is currently accepting NHS patients. Dr Adrian Higgins, clinical director of NHS Southampton City hopes that the opening of the practice will help to improve access to dentistry in the city. Dr Amit Rai, a dentist at the centre, added: “We are delighted to be open to patients and welcome anyone who is looking for an NHS dental practice, even if they haven’t visited a dentist for some time. Applying is quick and easy and we are happy to provide more information on NHS charges if patients are unsure about how much treatment will cost.”


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Portakabin has launched a new video as part of its campaign to change the perception of modular buildings and demonstrate what is possible with a flexible approach to providing accommodation.