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A new hospital for Harlow could be built within six years

The new hospital could be built on the outskirts of Harlow. Credit: ITV News Anglia

A new hospital for Harlow in Essex could be built in under six years time.

That's the bold statement from the Princess Alexandra Trust's board, which has just agreed that the best way forward for Harlow is a brand new hospital on the outskirts of the town.

But it's a long way to go, not least securing the 400 million pounds needed, and winning around residents and businesses directly affected by the build.

It would be set next to the M11 and the new junction that's being built north of the town. The hospital would replace the existing site, described by the CQC as "not fit for purpose, aged and in need of repair."

The current hospital has been described by the CQC as "not fit for purpose" Credit: ITV News Anglia

"It is ambitious and it does require both the funding which isn't yet approved and it does require us to get the relevant approvals process from the regulators. It's very ambitious, but it is achievable and it is essential that we get a new hospital for our local population."

– Lance McCarthy, CEO Princess Alexandra Hospital

53,000 new homes are being planned for Harlow over the next 20 years, the new hospital will also have the potential to expand by 20 per cent.

But there are concerns about the impact on local businesses and residents living near the proposed site.

"Clearly in this ward of the town I'm concerned we get the infrastructure right and I think as the board of the PAH works with the local MP, they've also got to work with the local community to understand their concerns, but this is a really positive announcement. It's a really good opportunity to improve healthcare in Harlow."

– Cllr Joel Charles, Old Harlow Ward

A three month public consultation is expected to begin in August, with a business plan finalised by 2021.

If all goes according to plan, the new hospital could be built by 2024, and open its doors to its first patients soon after.