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Health bosses seek new home for the Kent and Canterbury Hospital - leaving Ethelbert Road site ready for development

14 March 2014
by Alex Claridge

Health bosses are seeking a new home for the Kent and Canterbury Hospital – leaving its present site ripe for a massive housing development.

City MP Julian Brazier described a proposed move as “extremely good news” and believes the most likely location for a new hospital is land to the south of Canterbury off the New Dover Road.

The East Kent Hospitals Trust insists it is committed to retaining a hospital in Canterbury, which it admits would be smaller but providing the same services.

The hospital in Ethelbert Road

The hospital in Ethelbert Road

Quitting Ethelbert Road would free the land for new homes, more than 15,000 of which are written into the Canterbury City Council draft Local Plan.

The hospital trust has asked the council to include the 28-acre K&C site on a list of potential development sites in the plan, which was published last year and is the authority’s planning blueprint for the district up to 2031.

Mr Brazier says he is delighted by news of a possible move for the hospital.

The Conservative, who has represented Canterbury since 1987, said: “The last Labour government tried to close the hospital down in the late 1990s.

The Kent and Canterbury Hospital sign

The Kent and Canterbury Hospital sign

“Then they kept shifting the goalposts and wanted to just leave one ward open.

“That makes this extremely good news. It is an extremely strong hospital, but it does not have good road access.

“So a new hospital past St Anselm’s School and the Old Dover Road park and ride would have better access and would be close to the A2.”

The trust says any move would be done to modernise services and ensure the best possible patient care.

It is remaining non-committal about the a new location or any other specific details.

Plans are afoot for a new hospital site

Plans are afoot for a new hospital site

Spokesman Matthew Hogg said: “The existing Kent and Canterbury site has a number of limiting factors such as potential room for growth and better and more direct access to road networks.

“The buildings on site are up to 75 years old and require significant investment and ongoing maintenance.

“The trust therefore remains interested and engaged in the opportunities that could emerge from the Canterbury Local Plan and contributing to the wider possible benefits that could emerge.”

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It has told the council it could move to a smaller site with “modern building efficiencies and better space planning”.

The first hospital buildings at Ethelbert Road appeared in 1937 and the site has seen numerous additions since.

In February the trust announced it would move all acute general surgery to K&C after admitting it fears patients’ safety would be jeopardised by a shortage of specialist surgeons.

Mr Hogg added: “Ensuring facilities that are fit for purpose and capable of meeting the complex needs of patients both today and in the future is a key strategy of the trust, as is maintaining a hospital in Canterbury.”

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