Campaigners fighting to save Harefield Hospital from closure have been given new hope after officials said plans for a rebuild on a new site could be “impossible to justify in planning terms"
A letter leaked to the Gazette has raised the expectations of protesters, who want to see the world-renowned hospital remain in the village. Supporters of the Heart of Harefield Campaign are fighting plans to move services from the Hill End Road site to a new purpose-build hospital in Paddington, west London.
The letter from Graham King, head of city planning at Westminster City Hall, was addressed to Nigel Hodson, project director of proposed Paddington Health Campus, at St Mary’s Hospital, Eastbourne Terrace, London.
It said there have been so many changes in the layout and scale of the proposed new building that a new planning application must be made.
Mr King said in his letter current proposals raised “serious concerns that throw into question the suitability of the site for the scale of the development being proposed.
“It would appear that, without the inclusion of adjacent land/buildings to the development site, the proposal would constitute an overdevelopment of the site and could thus be impossible to justify in planning terms.”
Heart of Harefield chairwoman, Jean Brett, said: “This is a real breakthrough for us.
“For three years we have worked solidly week by week on ways to win the campaign and show this plan is not viable economically, geographically or morally.”
Beverley Habibi, spokeswoman for the Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Trust, said it had known about the planning issues since before the letter was written, and new Government guidelines and a review of some services meant a bigger building was needed.
She said: “Yes, it has got to be bigger, and we have worked with Westminster for at least the past year to get the services we need, in the buildings we need.”