All the group’s energies, largely through the Red House Forum, have been directed towards the redevelopment of the Red House site in Carlton Road, to create Harpenden’s much-needed new Health and Wellbeing Centre. But despite the assurance received over twelve months ago that a planning application for the redevelopment of the Stewarts and for housing to be built on the site’s ‘surplus land’ would be submitted in the late summer, but alas nothing has happened.
The delay looks certain to be further exacerbated by a major reorganisation of local NHS provision announced at the end of January. Provision of the adult community services contract in the West Herts area will be handed over in October from Hertfordshire Community Trust (HCT) to a much larger, and arguably more faceless, body, Central London Community Healthcare Trust (CLCH).
The change is being made following what is described as a ‘market testing process’ undertaken by Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), whose ongoing prevarication on the Red House plans was outlined in our Winter newsletter. HCT’s chief executive Clare Hawkins has expressed great disappointment at the decision, but says the trust will not be raising a legal challenge, if only to avoid further public expenditure.
Meanwhile county councillor Teresa Heritage has said she will be taking up the question of the Red House project with the CCG, expressing the view that the Health and Wellbeing Centre is likely to be needed despite the NHS contract change.
A letter (dated 22nd August 2012) sent from the Society’s Eric Midwinter to Teresa Heritage and David Law about the future of the Harpenden Memorial Hospital can be found here.
A Harpenden Society proposal for the future of the Red House (The Red House Revivified) can be found here.