GRAND plans to spend £50million renovating Harefield Hospital have been delayed by more than a year.

It was announced one year ago by chief executive Bob Bell that an overhaul was being planned for the hospital in Hill End Road.

He told residents at last year's Harefield Tenants and Residents Association AGM that a public consultation would take place in 2010 or early this year at the latest.

The hospital confirmed on Monday to the Gazette that the earliest the public will be able to see the plans will now be next year. This means no planning application will be lodged until mid-2012 at the earliest.

Work has been continuing over the last year however, and architects have been appointed to help draw up the plans.

One controversial part of the plans, raised last year by Mr Bell, was the idea of using 10 acres of the hospital's 45 acres of Green Belt land, for a social housing project.

Mr Bell said there was a desperate need for new facilities, with many buildings at the hospital still as they were when they were first built in the 1910s and 1920s. This would allow the hospital to raise capital, which could be put towards the £300 million redevelopment of the Royal Brompton Hospital. Mr Bell added that the hospital wished to do this as they did not want to have to borrow money to be able to carry out such plans.

Concerns were raised over this by Councillor Barnes last year who said such a move could be seen as 'asset stripping.'

A spokesperson for the Trust said: "Following the appointment of our architects in 2010, work has continued on plans for the re-development of Harefield Hospital. Initial scoping work suggests that the continuation of our phased approach is the most appropriate route to take.

"Our new theatres complex opened in November 2010 and our new state-of-the-art catheter laboratory will become operational in summer this year. A programme to replace inpatient accommodation will then follow. This represents a major phase in the hospital’s re-development programme, requiring significant investment. It is our intention to have plans ready to share with the public by early next year."

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