Planning go-ahead for specialist secure hospital for people with learning disabilities

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust has been given the green light from Sefton Council’s Planning Committee to build a new 40-bed specialist hospital for people with learning disabilities at Maghull Health Park, Merseyside.

The unanimous decision to grant full planning permission paves the way for the state of the art hospital proposal. It will be created on approximately 6.5 acres of land to the east of Villas Road on the Mersey Care-owned site, subject to planning conditions that include construction starts within two years.

Mersey Care’s Executive Director of Estates Elaine Darbyshire said: “This is great news towards our aspiration of creating a centre of excellence in secure mental health and learning disability services on the Maghull site. It builds on a long tradition of hospitals providing specialist care in the Maghull area.

“This new hospital will be built to the highest standards and include low carbon features and be energy efficient. It will provide support for people across the region requiring complex care in a therapeutic low secure setting for short to medium term periods.”

She added: “We are looking forward to working closely with local representatives and our construction partners to ensure there are added benefits of regeneration for the local community. We hope this will mean jobs not only in the construction industry but longer term for local people within the health sector and wider local economy.

“We're working hard, despite the challenges of the pandemic, to ensure we step up to meet the demands of ensuring we develop this new hospital.”

The decision by Sefton Council’s Planning Committee was for “unanimous approval of the reserved matters application pursuant to the outline planning permission originally granted in July 2020”.

Mersey Care will now proceed to the next stage in the statutory approvals process by presenting a sound business case for consideration by NHS England and Improvement. The Government has already committed £33 million to the project, subject to necessary approvals. A construction contract could be signed by late summer 2021, building work commenced later that year and the hospital completed in 2023.

Sefton’s Planning Committee Report concluded: “The proposed building is high quality and would incorporate various energy efficient features, responding positively to the general character of the area and surrounding built form while ensuring a natural buffer to the open countryside and ‘safeguarded land’ to the east. The proposal ensures an appropriate level of parking and supports sustainable transportation.”

Conditions imposed by the planners include:

  • The construction should start within two years of the planning approval
  • The development should comply with limits to the scope of the site boundary plans submitted, agreed elevations, ground and first floor layouts, external building materials and conditions of the building that were set out, including various landscaping proposals
  • The building cannot be occupied until car parking and cycle storage is provided, as well as bird nesting and bat boxes are installed in line with approved schedules.

Mersey Care is involving stakeholders in helping shape the future of the low secure unit with an on-line engagement platform. On the website you can see artists’ impressions of the unit and fill in a short survey to tell us what is most important. You will need to register to sign in to complete a survey and feedback. Go to: https://yoursaymerseycare.co.uk/