Health Secretary Sajid Javid is to look into a decision to block a new hospital on a central site in west Herts.

The announcement follows a meeting with an expert delegation highlighting issues with West Hertfordshire NHS Trust’s choice of Watford General for a redeveloped acute hospital.

Mr Javid will now ask the Trust how they came to make their decision to rule out a new site in 2020.

Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning, who led the delegation, welcomed the Health Secretary’s response: “I am very glad that Sajid has shown such an open mind. He listened to some very powerful evidence from experts in building, design and finance - several of them my constituents. We told him how much the trust has cut corners in forcing through the Watford General decision. He was interested to hear about new designs that might work especially well on a clear new site.

“There are so many reasons why the whole of west Herts would benefit from a truly new hospital on a clear site to fulfil the Government’s promise in 2019 – for instance good access for everyone, cheaper, speedy construction and a greener environment.

Sir Mike added: “We will be sending Sajid a dossier of information detailing how public spending rules have been bent in making the case for Watford General. The dossier will also show the opportunities for building in a sustainable way on one of a number of potential greenfield sites which would offer good access and a great environment for everyone in west Hertfordshire. We hope he will ask the Department of Health and the trust to look again at their decision.”

Philip Aylett, co-ordinator of the local New Hospital Campaign (NHC) who attended the meeting, said: “The trust refused, on very shaky evidence, to carry out a proper economic appraisal of any new clear site in 2020. The trust failed to follow public spending rules and the costs and timings of the project are now out of control."

A spokesperson for West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We’re very happy to share our rationale for ruling out a new site in favour of retaining and redeveloping our three hospitals. Our decision was driven by the need to deliver new and better buildings in the shortest timeframe possible."