Sustainable new facility designed to improve the environment for patients and staff
An artist's impression of the new hospital development
Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust is working on a new community hospital in the Forest of Dean which will replace Dilke Memorial Hospital and Lydney Community Hospital.
The new facility is being built on the site of Collingwood Skatepark and Lower High Street Playing Field in Steam Mills Road, Cinderford, which will put it close to the town centre and make it as accessible as possible whether travelling by car or by public transport.
A new skatepark is also being provided at Miner’s Field off Barleycorn Square to replace the former skate park at the Sports Field.
This locates the skate park more centrally within the town, offers better and safer access, and puts it in a location where the town council is investing in additional park and recreation facilities.
The trust has also funded the resurfacing of the multi-use games area off Coronation Road and Mount Pleasant Road from the current concrete to a Sports England-approved surface to make it usable all year round and for a wider range of sports and activities.
The hospital is expected to be completed during the 2023-24 financial year.
And it has been designed by ONE Creative Environments to be energy efficient, with contractor, Speller Metcalfe, aiming for a BREEAM ‘Excellent’ sustainability certification.
At the heart of the sustainable design lies a an extremely-thick, 250mm insulation in the walls and roof – essentially enveloping the hospital in a ‘nice thick jumper’, which significantly reduces the energy needed for heating and cooling.
It will also rely solely on electricity, utilising alternative air source heat pumps, mechanical ventilation recovery systems, and on-site renewable energy sources to offset its energy consumption.
In fact, the hospital will be a net contributor of electricity to the national grid, so its carbon footprint will decline over time, which could lead it to achieving ‘net zero’ emissions in the future.
In addition, the team is also using a ‘cradle to grave’ approach which considers the raw materials, their manufacturing processes, embodied carbon, and ease of recycling, with over 70% of the supply chain for the hospital build being procured from within 30 miles of the site, and many from the Forest of Dean itself.
A testament to sustainable redevelopment, the scheme has been built on what was historically a coal mine and post-industrial site.
The construction team faced the challenge of investigating the location of coal seams and mine shafts, undertaking extensive probing and remediation strategies to ensure the safety of the site prior to laying the foundations – ultimately transforming a site with complex requirements into a sustainable community asset.
And the project demonstrates a commitment to both preserving and enhancing local ecology and biodiversity.
Extensive consideration has been given to the surrounding wildlife, such as dormice and bats, to ensure the hospital does not encroach onto their existing habitats.
As an example, prior to construction the team was on site overnight to carry out light level surveys to understand how the design would impact on the bats’ flight path and will be installing dimmable night-time lighting at the hospital entrance.
Additionally, the hospital incorporates bat and bird boxes throughout the site, while also committing to planting of significantly more plants and trees than were previously in situ, which will ultimately enhance its biodiversity by over 10%.
Efficiency plays a vital role in the sustainable operation of the hospital, but not just in terms of energy.
The layout has been designed so corridors are minimised to reduce staff walking distances, and as a result maximising their day-to-day efficiency.
Additionally, a crucial aspect of the design has focused on the connection to nature, so all 24 inpatient rooms have a view directly out to the forest or the surrounding environment.
Angela Potter, director of strategy and partnerships at the trust, said: “An enormous amount of work, energy, and thought has gone into the development and planning for a new community hospital in the Forest of Dean.
“Our aim has always been to develop 21st-century facilities to house services which meet the needs of the community in the Forest of Dean, and a modern, new hospital will have an important role to play in achieving this objective.”