On Friday the 20 May Surrey County Council, North West Surrey Health and Care Alliance and Elmbridge Borough Council hosted a public exhibition to present information about the renewal of the healthcare, library and community facilities in Weybridge. The event was held in St James Church.
The public event provided an opportunity for residents to see progress so far and speak with key decision makers. Display boards around the venue showed a range of information including a summary of all the research and feedback from residents to date, plans for the road improvements, proposals for the library redevelopment and information about the services that will be available in the new health campus. During the five hour event, over 250 residents visited and spent time reading the display boards, talking to key decision makers from across the organisations involved and leaving feedback about the programme.
Local leaders were 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. If you were unable to attend the event in person, you can find all of the information in Weybridge library until mid-June and it is also available on the WeyBetter Weybridge website.
Visit our have your say webpage to share feedback on the proposals
WeyBetter Weybridge 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.
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 WeyBetter Weybridge will deliver
The immediate priority for the WeyBetter Weybridge 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
For information on the Health Campus, please visit the NHS website page about the Weybridge 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?
In September 2022, Elmbridge Borough Council Cabinet agreed to transform Weybridge Hall into an arts and theatre venue. For more information, see the Elmbridge Borough Council website.
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 second 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 to 15 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.
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.
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