Building work begins on the new Forest of Dean community hospital

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Building work begins on the new Forest of Dean community hospital

Building works to deliver a new, modern community hospital are now underway at Cinderford in the Forest of Dean.

Members of the project team joined together to take part in a traditional sod cutting ceremony, which marks the start of the project in the same month that the NHS celebrates 74 years of service.

The £26 million project is being delivered on behalf of Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust (GHC) by building contractor Speller Metcalfe and architects One Creative Environments.

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of GHC, said: “I’m excited to mark the start of the construction of a new community hospital for the Forest of Dean.

“It’s been an extremely challenging couple of years for colleagues in the NHS so it’s fantastic that we are returning to important work like planning and building this hospital, which will be an enormous asset for the area.”

Forest of Dean residents will benefit from the modern multi-million-pound community hospital, which is set to replace and improve existing services in Cinderford and Lydney. Once complete, the two-storey hospital will house a 24-bed in-patient unit alongside provision for dental, X-ray, physiotherapy and endoscopy services, among others.

Ingrid Barker, Trust chair, added: “I’m always conscious that a huge number of people have been involved in the development of this hospital, both within the NHS and in the Forest of Dean community. We’re thankful for everyone who has played a part to get us to this point, as well as those whose contribution lies ahead.”

The hospital is being constructed to the sustainable BREEAM ‘Excellent’ standard, with a range of measures in place to lower environmental impact and improve energy efficiency.

These include protecting and increasing the existing habit and hedgerow by over 2000% – planting over 100 new native trees, extending the dormouse habitat and using ecologically friendly lighting at the hospital entrance to avoid disrupting the existing bat flight path.

Adrian Speller, Technical Director at Speller Metcalfe, said: “To tie in with the NHS’ 74 years of remarkable service is a fantastic way to mark the start of the new community hospital in Cinderford. The scheme will not only provide residents from across the Forest of Dean with better access to medical facilities, but will in some cases enhance the local ecology of the surrounding environment.”

Inside the hospital, Speller Metcalfe will be installing air source heat pumps, which will be used to heat the building instead of a traditional gas supply, helping to lower energy bills.

As well as timber, cladding on the building will incorporate green and grey highlights to blend in with the forest background. It will also be situated lower into the ground, reducing the height of hospital to help immerse it into the surrounding environment.

Procured under the Gloucestershire County Councils Major Construction Works framework, the hospital will be located on Steam Mills Road on the Lower High Street playing field, and is set to complete in early 2024.

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