The Watford Health Campus project – which will deliver new hospital facilities, housing, employment space and a neighbourhood centre in the west of the town – is making significant progress following two major recent announcements.
Two bidders – John Laing plc and Kier Ventures Ltd – have been selected to be taken through to the next stage of the procurement process.
An intensive and thorough process saw the Campus team (Watford Borough Council, West Hertfordshire Health NHS Trust and Watford Football Club) work with the potential private sector partners to build understanding and confidence in the submitted proposals.
The Campus team were impressed with the level of quality and attention that both bidders have committed to the project so far and are looking forward to working with the two bid teams over the next few months as they finalise their solutions. At this stage, it is hoped that the preferred private sector partner will be appointed in late summer 2012.
And the project received additional momentum this week with the welcome news that it has been awarded £6million of funding from the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Growing Places Fund to support improvements in the access to the Campus site.
In particular, this money is a real boost to the delivery of a new road that will connect the Campus with the major access routes into the town and speed up journey times considerably. It will also help ensure the Croxley Rail Link bridge is in place in advance of work starting on this major transport scheme, which is providing further enhancements to Watford’s infrastructure, including better access to the Campus by public transport.
Commenting on achieving the LEP funding, Dorothy Thornhill MBE, Elected Mayor of Watford said: “This news is a huge vote of confidence for the Health Campus. It demonstrates the government and Hertfordshire’s commitment to the scheme. We all know the Campus will deliver significant benefits to the town and give a huge boost to our local economy – let’s now get on with getting it built!”
Jan Filochowski, Chief Executive of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust said: “I am delighted that we have reached yet another significant milestone in the Watford Health Campus project. This is another step closer to making it a reality. I look forward to continuing to work with the other stakeholders to deliver improved facilities for the local community.”
John Gourd, of Johnson Matthey and Chair of the Hertfordshire LEP, said: “The purpose of the LEP’s Growing Places Fund is to kick start projects that will create new jobs and homes and boost the local economy. The Watford Health Campus will clearly deliver this which is why we are delighted to support the project.”
Notes to editors:
The Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a business-led partnership between local businesses, academia, not-for-profit organisations and local government with a remit to boost the local economy and create new jobs. It was one of the first LEPs to be given permission to form by Government in October 2010.
The LEP is supported by four Programme Boards that cover Investment & Advocacy, Innovation & Enterprise, Strategic Infrastructure and Skills and Employment.
The newly-created Hertfordshire LEP Business Forum ensures that local businesses can engage with the LEP and drive its priorities.
For further details visit www.hertfordshirelep.com
About Growing Places Fund
In November 2011 the Government announced a £500m Growing Places fund (GPF) to act as an “enabling fund” to generate economic activity, by addressing immediate infrastructure and site constraints and to promote the delivery of jobs and housing. It will allow Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to prioritise the infrastructure they need to deliver their economic strategies. It will enable LEPs to establish sustainable revolving funds so that funding can be re-invested to unlock further development and leverage private development funding.
An additional sum of £270m was announced for Growing Places in March 2012.
The Hertfordshire LEP has allocated funding to an additional three projects across Hertfordshire, all of which have the ability to unlock growth and generate funds that can be reinvested in other projects across the county.