WeyBetterWeybridge health centre and town centre renewal project

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Public exhibition

Surrey County Council, North West Surrey Health and Care Alliance and Elmbridge Borough Council are hosting a public exhibition to present information about the renewal of the healthcare, library and community facilities in Weybridge. The event will be held in St James Church, Weybridge on the 20 May from 2pm to 7pm. The closest car park, Churchfields, is directly next door and the postcode is KT13 8DE. No pre-registration is needed, people can attend at any time during the exhibition hours.

This event is an opportunity to share the progress to date on the planned transformation of the site and present early ideas on how the space could look and what services could be provided. There will be a chance to speak to key decision-makers and share initial feedback.

Local leaders will be present at the event, including:

  • Tim Oliver, Leader of Surrey County Council
  • Dr Ben Spencer, MP for Runnymede and Weybridge
  • Marie Snelling, Executive Director for Customer and Communities, Surrey County Council
  • Ian Smith, Designate Chair for the Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care Board
  • Jack Wagstaff, Place Leader, North West Surrey Alliance

As the WeyBetter Weybridge programme develops, there will be plenty of opportunity for local people and partners to have their say to ensure the proposals meet the needs of local people and local communities. After the event all of the information will be made available at the library until the end of the month and it will also be available online.

If you are unable to attend the event in person you can find all the information displayed and leave your feedback via our online survey.

Overview

WeybetterWeybridge is the programme bringing together NHS Surrey Heartlands, Surrey County Council, North West Surrey Alliance and Elmbridge Borough Council to renew the healthcare and community facilities in Weybridge.

The aim is to build a new health campus in the centre of Weybridge after the old facilities burnt down in a fire in 2017, alongside the renewal of the library and other associated elements such as a car park and youth centre provision.

From our engagement with local people, we know how much of a priority it is for residents to see progress on an affordable, achievable plan to build a new health campus which will provide state of the art accommodation for the two GP practices, alongside other services such as mental health and outpatients clinics.

The scheme is now moving into a new phase, led by a partnership between Surrey County Council, NHS Surrey Heartlands, North West Surrey Alliance and Elmbridge Borough Council, which will have primary focus on the health campus, whilst planning for a further stage of development which will encompass the library. We also plan to make improvements to the town centre. The aim is to create a better town centre environment that encourages active travel such as walking and cycling. In addition we plan to improve pedestrian crossing facilities, street furniture, traffic flow and associated air quality.

At key points in the programme, we will be publishing updates on this webpage so the wider community can see our progress.

Public engagement

In July 2021 we established a Stakeholder Reference Group made up of community leaders, community groups and residents. This group will meet at monthly intervals.

About the project

What WeyBetterWeybridge will deliver

The immediate priority for the WeyBetterWeybridge project is to build the health campus. From our engagement with residents, we know that is the main concern and we're looking to do this as quickly as possible.

Future plans for the site, which covers the old hospital, carpark and library, also include the renewal of the library and other community facilities. The site holds many opportunities, but we also need to take care with its development. It is important that the plans consider all users and have the support of the sites neighbours. We will be talking to local residents and stakeholders about the plans at the appropriate time.

Alongside the plans for community facilities, Surrey County Council is planning improvements to the town centre.

What has happened since the fire in 2017

In 2017 a fire destroyed the Weybridge Community Hospital. A range of services including outpatient, urgent care and primary care (two GP Practices) services had been located within the site. Since the fire, the two GP Practices have been re-housed in temporary portacabins. The other NHS services have been provided in locations across North West Surrey.

The NHS begun a process to build a new health campus, considering service demand at the time of the fire and also considering the future needs of the population of North West Surrey. A number of options have been considered but a preferred solution has not been agreed.

We now want to see faster progress on an affordable, achievable plan. This new phase, led by a partnership between Surrey County Council, NHS Surrey Heartlands, North West Surrey Alliance and Elmbridge Borough Council, will have an initial primary focus on the health campus, while planning for a further stage of development which will encompass the library.

How the climate emergency is being considered as part of this project

All partners have made significant commitments to net zero carbon. Surrey County Council aims to develop all local authority new builds with a net zero design standard as detailed in the climate change strategy.

Frequently asked questions

Overall programme

Why has there been a delay to the WeyBetter Weybridge programme?

Following the fire at Weybridge hospital in 2017, work began to review the opportunity for redevelopment, encompassing a wider area than just the health centre. This is a complex piece of work involving multiple public sector organisations and includes the requirement to secure insurance money and further funds to deliver our ambitious plans.

We have taken the time to conduct research on health services required against a backdrop of the services available in the surrounding area. We have spoken to residents to understand what they want to see to make Weybridge a better place to live and work. The last two years have also seen us living through an unprecedented pandemic, which has resulted in other health services being prioritised. The programme was formally reconstituted in the autumn of 2021 and we now believe we are in a better place to move swiftly forward with our plans.

When and how will residents be engaged?

Since September 2021 we have been supported by a Stakeholder Reference Group (local residents, stakeholders and local Councillors) that have an interest in the proposals. This group will help us develop the proposals but also think about how we would further engage with the public, having helped co-design the May 2022 event. These will take the form of different forums, ranging from similar public engagement events to smaller focus groups.

Residents can also be updated on this webpage. We will look to be bringing more detailed designs forwards in the autumn as we look to involve the wider community in the development of the proposals across the health campus, library and plaza.

When can we expect building to start?

Assuming that planning permission is required, the building work for the library will start later in 2023, with the work on the plaza being completed once the major building work has finished. The programme and our partners will need to be mindful of the sequencing involved in the build phase and the continued delivery of services. Within the programme a group has been established to ensure there is coordination of these plans and that local disruption is minimised and support is provided between organisations.

When will the new facilities be fully open and operational?

Subject to funding and planning permission, construction of the health campus will be completed by the end of 2025, however a short period of time will be needed after this date to move services into the building from the existing locations including the two Weybridge GP practices.

Which sites are involved and who is involved in each site?

Partners are working together to bring a full package of local improvements to Weybridge residents. NHS will be leading the delivery on the Weybridge Community Hospital Site, Surrey County Council the delivery of the transformed library building, road and infrastructure improvements, and Elmbridge Borough Council the improvements with the plaza and the transfer of the car parking provision to Churchfields Bowling Green.

However, a key benefit of our approach is the ability for one partner to support another so that there is a collective rather than individual approach.

Is vacant Weybridge Hall included?

Elmbridge Borough Council is considering the future of Weybridge Hall, which pre-dates the WeyBetter Weybridge Programme. Partners agreed with Elmbridge Borough Council that Weybridge Hall's inclusion would further complicate and potentially slow the development of the proposals.

Could Weybridge Hall be converted to apartments above ground level parking, with access from Minorca Road?

The future of Weybridge Hall continues to be considered by Elmbridge Borough Council. In 2020 to 2021 a cinema was proposed but the interested operator has since withdrawn.

Library

What will happen to Weybridge library?

The community will benefit from a transformation of Weybridge library as part of this development. The new library will be a modern, flexible space and the library service will work closely with residents and partner organisations to ensure that it meets the needs of the local community. The space will be light, accessible and comfortable. It will include a range of areas for events, exhibitions and meetings, as well as spaces for visitors to enjoy the books and benefit from modern technology and business support. The combination of spaces for social interaction, cultural experiences and learning opportunities, along with information and support for local communities and businesses, will promote health and wellbeing and position Weybridge library as a cultural and community hub, making it a destination on the high street.

What is the daily usage of the library?

Overall, Surrey County Council Library Service was the 2nd most visited public library service in England in 2021/2022, with just over 550,000 visits. Weybridge library is one of the most visited of Surrey's libraries, 12 busiest out of the 52 across the county. The transformation will enable the library to meet the current and future needs of its existing users, and to cater for a local population that is predicted to increase by around 18,000 by 2030, with a particular increase in the 5 to15 age group within the borough.

Who will the new library benefit?

The space will be accessible and welcoming to all, with a wide range of facilities, services, events and activities designed to deliver benefits for all those who live, work and study in the area. The library service will work closely with local residents and partner organisations to ensure the new library meets the needs of the local community on an ongoing basis. There is a particular emphasis on the children's area of the library, to encourage play and learning, and on diverse cultural events for all audiences. Alongside these will be classes, workshops and support on topics of broad interest, as well as opportunities to access a range of other services from the building, to benefit all residents.

What will be in the new library?

The library space will be designed to be flexible, enabling different types of activities and events to take place. It will include exhibition and performance space, alongside confidential rooms that can be used for workshops, classes or for groups to meet. There will be space throughout the building where people can use facilities including Wi-Fi, computers, printing and photocopying to support them to collaborate, work or study.

What community facilities are being planned in the library?

Nothing has been finalised yet, subject to comments and views received at the consultation. We are in the process of carrying out a local needs assessment, to assess what needs providing alongside the library service.

Health services

What health facilities will be provided in the new campus?

Our vision is for a new state-of-the-art community campus that incorporates a modern, purpose-built health facility that's fit for the 21st century and provides a range of high-quality health and wellbeing services for the local community. As part of this vision, we would like to see:

  • Doctors, nurses and therapists working together to provide a one-stop shop for local health services
  • Access to 'on the day' urgent care provided by nurses, GPs and a range of health professionals
  • A large area for primary care services, with more treatment rooms so we can see more patients
  • Ultrasound and advanced blood testing diagnostic services on site
  • Flexible space and room for expansion so we can respond to population growth and meet future needs
  • A range of children's services including a 0 to19 health visiting and school nursing hub, as well as speech and language and other therapy services
  • The latest industry-standard construction materials for improved safety
  • A building that is environmentally friendly and sustainable as we work to reduce our carbon footprint

Our early thinking is based on feedback from the local community and our planning work so far. We know there's a lot more work to do – and we want to hear what you think. We will then be developing more detailed proposals, based on what we have heard from local people and partners.

Where will the hospital site be located?

The current plan is to locate the health campus on the old community hospital site. When considering the wider site a lot of consideration has been focused upon how best the services can be integrated given the needs of the different buildings, however further engineering and planning work will need to be undertaken before this can be confirmed.

What facilities will there be for the treatment of mental illness and for those with dementia?

The NHS plans to deliver mental health services from the health campus once re-opened. Further work is needed to agree the specific conditions, but it will include a broad range of services.

What diagnostic services will be provided, for example: scans, blood tests?

A broad range of diagnostics services will be provided via the community services, women's services and primary care including scans and blood tests.

Will there be space for new technologies in the area of x-ray, scanning and diagnostics to enable faster diagnosis of serious conditions at a local level?

Prior to the fire in 2017, both Weybridge Community Hospital and Walton Hospital provided x-ray. Neither site was able to provide a full service, because of a lack of staff, nor were there sufficient patients requiring x-ray services. The fire has allowed a full service to be provided from Walton, with the staff from Weybridge now supporting Walton as well as significantly increased levels of activity.

Alongside this, the NHS is investing in new technologies (such as ultrasound, CT or MRI) which provide significant benefits over x-ray. An increasing trend has seen patients being asked to undertake an x-ray only for the results not to provide the information required and then being asked to undertake newer types of diagnostics for a diagnosis to be made. Our focus is to invest in these newer forms of technologies as they provide better outcomes for patients. The health campus will retain ultrasound as part of its diagnostics.

Was Weybridge considered as a Community Diagnostic Hub?

The priority for the services on the site was to provide services needed by the community. A Community Diagnostics Hub would have required a significant amount of space, which given the constraints of the site and access would have required reducing the level of community clinical services that would have been provided.

Will there be new services?

The services provided on the health campus will be broadly the same as the services provided prior to the fire, with the exception of mental health services which will now be included.

What parking space will there be?

It is expected that there will be broadly the same car parking spaces as were available prior to the fire. The rebuild of the health campus will need to comply with Elmbridge Borough Council planning guidance on access and car parking provision.

Will there be electric vehicle charging provision?

Yes. Any car parking provision would need to support both NHS and Elmbridge Borough Council planning guidance that sets out the nature and type of electric vehicle provision that will need to be provided.

Will the walk-in centre or equivalent Urgent Treatment Centre be restored? If not, why not?

Whilst Weybridge Community Hospital included a walk-in centre, guidance to the local NHS system means that this service cannot be re-provided because it does not meet current clinical standards. Since the fire, St Peters Hospital has developed its urgent care services and has created a new Urgent Treatment Centre which is supported by the NHS. This service is designed to support the wider system across Surrey by being able to treat a wider range of conditions and have access to more senior staff. Weybridge and surrounds does need access to urgent care and the health campus will include an 'on the day' urgent care hub.

What are the proposals for the link between the health campus and the library as a hub for the community?

We will be creating a range of health, wider community and wellbeing facilities that will best meet the needs of residents from Weybridge and the surrounding area. Whilst the focus has been on the buildings, we will now be looking at the services being delivered from the health and library campus.

As Weybridge's population is set to grow over the next local plan period - will the new medical centre allow for expansion beyond current capacity?

Consideration has been given to the growing needs of the health campus as a hub for community services across the locality, beyond Weybridge. There is a need for additional space for primary care and this has been factored into the design. There is also a need to make better use of the space. It is expected that services will be delivered across longer opening hours, seven days a week to meet this demand.

Is the health campus just for Weybridge residents or for a much wider area?

The health campus is for the wider population needing primary care and community services across the locality in North West Surrey.

Will the GP practices move out of the portacabins into the new hospital building and have sufficient rooms to provide more services to their patients?

Once the health campus has been built, there will need to be a short period of time in which the GPs are moved out of their portacabins and the public realm is reinstated. NHS England sets out the space provision for GP practices depending upon their size. It is the decision of the GP practices to organise the usage of their space how they see fit.

Can you confirm the number of parking spaces for patients and importantly ambulances and community transport compared with previously?

The current intent of the proposals is to provide broadly the same number of car parking spaces as were available prior to the fire. However, given the challenge of climate change and the changes in planning policy since the community hospital was built in the 1990s, priority will need to be environmentally friendly forms of transport including cycling, buses and electric vehicles. The partnership approach allows the NHS to work with Surrey County Council on the transport approach within the centre of Weybridge. It is also important that the health campus does not materially impact the surrounding public parking.

Will residential developers using the old hospital site for housing purposes?

The current plan by the NHS is not to sell to any commercial developers. However, if the full extent of the current hospital site is not needed the NHS may seek to explore how the land could be used for key workers or similar. This position is subject to planning permission and the funding agreement.

Why is the rebuild of the health campus being combined with the regeneration of the town centre?

The fire at the hospital site created a unique opportunity to make significant improvements to the public services and space available in the town. By working together in partnership, we will be able to provide services that better meet the needs of Weybridge residents, both now and into the future.

That said, as we recognise that the health centre is the priority, different partners will be leading on different elements of the programme to deliver the services as soon as possible.

Town centre

Will the recreation ground remain intact?

The recreation ground will remain intact. In our proposal, part of the Churchfields Car Park will move from its existing position to Churchfields Bowling Green which is next to the recreation ground. This will allow us to provide a large plaza as a multi-functional public space behind the library. Partners support this proposal in terms of the transfer of space between the two locations, given the lack of this type of multi-functional space, that the wider community can come together and use.

Is the youth centre being moved and will it retain its green space?

Having explored a variety of options there is no intention to move the youth centre. We will continue to work together with the trustees to ensure that youth facilities are part of the wider community offer.

Will local grade II listed heritage being protected?

The design teams are aware of the local heritage on the site and particularly the grade II listed buildings. It is hoped that the designs will enhance the views of these buildings and any new build would need to be sympathetic in its design and character.

Contact us

If you would like to get in contact with the project team please email: weybetter.weybridge@surreycc.gov.uk