Plans approved for new medical centre in Hornchurch

Plans to build a new medical centre at the former St George’s Hospital site in Hornchurch have won approval from Havering Council.

The planning committee unanimously approved the centre, which will treat kidney, elderly and cancer patients, as well as providing space for Gps.

It will be built at the northern end of the former hospital, closed in 2012, alongside a 290-home development currently in its final stages of construction.

Initials plans for centre were approved in July last year but a new application was submitted to add room for extra services, being transferred to the site from Queen’s Hospital.

Housing officer Raphael Adenegan said the local need for health facilities amounted to “very special circumstances”, justifying the development of green belt land.

He added: “This will result in a modern contemporary design that will respond positively to the local area.

“The dependency on acute services [at Queen’s] will be reduced, which is part of the special circumstances and will help achieve quicker discharges.

“It will allow the health system to deliver health and care at scale to deal with the changing demographics of the area.”

The three-storey building will sit in the middle of a landscaped garden with a courtyard café and 110-space car park.

Some councillors doubted whether the site will contain enough parking spaces and whether relocating four local GPs would be a good idea.

Councillor Graham Williamson said: “I’m slightly disappointed with the new centre [but] we need it and we have to have it.

“It’s like Solitaire, services move out of Queen’s, GPs from other areas, I don’t think that it’s fantastic.”

Of the 318 staff, only those with an “essential” need to drive will be allowed to use the on-site parking, the committee were told.

However, councillors were also concerned by the availability of public transport, after hearing TfL will not increase the bus service to the site.

Josh Mellor

Local Democracy Reporter