Berkshire

Work starts on £98m greenbelt Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot

Artist's impression of Heatherwood Hospital Image copyright Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust
Image caption The new hospital will include six operating theatres, 48 inpatient beds and 22 day cubicles

Construction work has begun on a new £98m hospital being built on greenbelt land.

Councillors gave permission in 2017 for Heatherwood Hospital in Ascot, Berkshire, to be demolished and relocated to nearby woodland.

It will be used for planned procedures and feature six operating theatres, 48 inpatient beds and 22 day cubicles.

The site, due for completion in 2021, will treat 168,000 patients a year - 85,000 more than the current facility.

Planners had recommended against giving permission for the new building, saying 3.66 hectares of "priority habitat" would be lost.

However, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust successfully argued there were "very special circumstances" to develop the land.

Image copyright Google
Image caption The current Heatherwood Hospital will be demolished and replaced with 230 homes

Tim Ho, the trust's medical director, said he was "delighted" the work was starting.

He added: "It will be sited very close to woodland so it will look and blend into the environment - and actually be a really peaceful and therapeutic environment for our patients."

The old building, which has been home to the hospital for almost 100 years, will be demolished to make way for 230 homes.

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