No cash for HealthSpace buildingBy Hugh Fort
May 21, 2012
Bracknell's much-vaunted – and much delayed – HealthSpace project could now be housed inside the town’s existing cancer and kidney treatment centre, health bosses have admitted.
Charles Waddicor, chief executive of NHS Berkshire, has revealed bosses are now considering whether to move the £25 million health centre into the Royal Berkshire Bracknell Centre, in Brants Bridge.
Planning permission has been granted for the HealthSpace to be built in Skimped Hill Lane but Mr Waddicor said it was now unlikely that cash would be available to provide a separate building.
He said: “It now doesn’t look as if we are going to build anything new but we are looking at the possibility of having new services inside existing facilities. We will look at providing the HealthSpace at Brants Bridge.”
The project has kept being delayed and questions have been raised over its financial viability.
Councillor Tony Virgo, who chairs Bracknell Forest Council’s health overview and scrutiny committee, has been heavily involved in the HealthSpace project.
He said: “I’m not surprised really. There just isn’t the money anywhere to do these things.
“It makes sense to me to have it where there is something already built.”
As well as the financial concerns, fears had also been raised about a lack of parking at the proposed HealthSpace site.
The plans provided a very small amount of parking spaces on the land, most of which were for staff.
It proposed that people attending the centre would use the surrounding car parks in Bracknell town centre and then walk.
The Health Advisory Group pointed out at the time that elderly, ill and injured people all faced a substantial walk to the centre.
Cllr Virgo said one benefit of the proposed change is that the Brants Bridge centre has ample parking for patients.
The proposal to relocate the centre will be discussed in the NHS’s Shaping the Future consultation, which asks for views on the future of Healthcare as a whole and will be launched in September.