Plans for new hospital take shape

Berwick Infirmary.

Berwick Infirmary.

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Plans to build a brand new hospital for Berwick are taking shape, with construction work due to begin in autumn 2015.

An £18million budget has been secured to construct a new “fit for purpose” infirmary to replace the current structure in the centre of town.

Speaking to Berwick Civic Society last week, Paul Brayson, project manager for Northumberland Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said designers were due to be appointed next month, and that Easter 2015 had been identified as the target date for a planning application to be submitted.

It is unclear whether the new building will house additional services to those currently on offer. But Mr Brayson stressed that a new building was “imperative” as the present Victorian structure was unfit for purpose with unsuitable areas, cramped space, little privacy, and not very green processes.

Fields at Berwick Academy had originally been identified as a possible site for the new hospital. But with the secretary of state dragging his heals over approving sale of the land, and feedback from the public stating a centre of town option was preferable, it was decided to rebuild at the current site.

The building process, which will be done in phases, will be a repeated sequence of demolition and build, possibly beginning in the under-used northern section of the hospital. Most, if not all, of the reconstructed infirmary will be new build.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said: “We remain fully committed to building a new hospital for Berwick which will benefit the local community for many years to come.

“We know local people are very keen to see this progress and we are working hard to take the project forward.”

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