Health chiefs step aside for school

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HEALTH chiefs have agreed to free up land they had shown an interest in for their planned new £300m hospital to make way for a new school to be built.

Three years ago, bosses at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust identified two potential sites at Wynyard for a new hospital to be built.

Site A, the one chosen for the new development, was opposite Site B, on the other side of the A689 at Wynyard.

Site B was owned by Sir John Hall’s company, Cameron Hall Developments, and the trust took out an option to buy both the sites which would expire after five years.

Following consultation, Site A was chosen for the hospital and bought from Wynyard Park Limited and now Red House School, in Norton, is planning to move onto Site B.

Board members met this week to formally free up the land so the school building can go ahead.

Cameron Hall has paid the trust back the £30,000 it paid to secure the land, which also included legal fees.

Trust chief executive Alan Foster told a board meeting held at the University Hospital of Hartlepool this week: “Some land is going to be used to relocate Red House School.

“Obviously we don’t want to stand in the way of that development so as a trust we need to make sure we were consulted on the change.

“Kevin Oxley has been dealing with it on our behalf.

“We have executed a change to the land agreement so Red House School can grow.”

Board members agreed to approve of the disposal of the land.

Officials from the Department of Health are still considering an outline business case for the new hospital and there is an ongoing government review into using private sector funding for major developments, known as private finance initiative (PFI).

That led to hospital chiefs looking at alternative sources of funding, including pension funds.

The Mail reported yesterday that health regulator Monitor is to assess the business case for private pension funding before it is brought back to the board in the summer.