Future uncertain for Harpenden wellbeing centre

An artist’s impression of the proposed new centre.

An artist’s impression of the proposed new centre. - Credit: Archant

Progress has been stalled on plans for a new health and wellbeing centre in Harpenden.

The Harpenden Society has expressed doubts that the plans to renovate the former Harpenden Memorial Hospital site in Carlton Road will come to fruition.

The wellbeing centre will be based in the Stewarts Building, and will offer services for diabetes, leg ulcers and bladder and bowel problems, as well as blood tests and children’s speech and language therapy.

The rest of the site will be turned into affordable homes, and the adjacent Red House will be turned into flats.

In a meeting last summer, the Harpenden Society was told construction would begin during 2019, with the new centre ready for use by late 2020.

The editor of Harpenden Society’s newsletter, Alan Bunting, wrote in January: “In our winter 2017 newsletter we reported that a target date for completion of the project had been set at April 2019. But here we are only three months from that date and progress can, at least to outward appearances, be summed up as appearing to have stalled.

“Among potential beneficiaries of the promised health and wellbeing centre, especially patients in Harpenden who have to travel considerable distances to clinics or hospitals outside the town, there are feelings of frustration and even anger that the new facility looks no nearer than when it was first mooted some three years ago.”

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The proposals have been developed by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT), with the close involvement of Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG).

A trust spokesman said: “Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group supports in principle the proposals that Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust has developed.

“There are still some arrangements that need to be finalised before the scheme can go ahead.”

Earlier this year, HVCCG ran a market testing process which confirmed Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust as the new provider for adult community health services in west Herts from the autumn, taking over the role from HCT.

HCT chief executive Clare Hawkins said: “We will support all staff affected by the decision to ensure that there is a smooth transition to CLCH for them and for our patients and local communities.