CBC Give Green Light to Build Dunstable Health Hub

CBC were ready, today, to award the contract for the building of a new Housing scheme and Health Hub on the site of the former sports area and green space behind the Grove Theatre in Dunstable. Reaction to the scheme from members of a public Facebook Group was not favourable.

Cllr Eugene Ghent, Executive Member for Assets and Housing read out a recorded speech (see video below) :

Praise was heaped on the project from many councillors, speaking of their excitement, and of the years of work that had gone into getting the project to this stage. Dunstable CBC Conservative Councillor, Cllr Carole Hegley, for Central Ward was among those delighted that this project had got to this stage, adding in a statement,  “It’s about delivering both health and social care in a joined-up way to suit local people.”

Cllr Versallion mentioned from working on this project that he thought this scheme had been at times like herding cats. Cllr Paul Duckett welcomed that they had managed to get many of the council's sustainability objectives into this scheme. Cllr Susan Goodchild praised Cllr Hegley's work on this project as exemplary.

Cllr Ghent said he had asked that the contractor liaise with Dunstable Town Council to keep the skate park open during construction.

Connectivity to Dog Kennel Walk and on towards Houghton Regis would be maintained at all time, said Cllr Ghent, and when completed there would be a 2 metre wide walk-way and cycle-path through the site.

Executive members approved the recommendations as written in their report to approve a preferred contractor:

Reacting to today's news on the Facebook Group Save Our Dunstable Spaces (SODS) Action Group (257 members), Christine Matthews Smart, commented, “Absolute joke, do what they want, don't care what the towns people want.'”

Jade Smart commented, “It’s a ridiculous corrupt decision. The decision is not about health care, more about how many flats they can stick in the area and rinse those tenants for rent and maintenance charges. Those in over 55 schemes around Dunstable have complained about the expense of it all.”

Pamela Gilmour wasn't happy, either, commenting, “This is a disaster {angry frowning face} another big mistake... time will tell.”

Lesley Wyatt, “In spite of the many objections - so much for our caring council . . . . .NOT {sad face}”

98 apartments for over 55s will be built on the site, distributed in three blocks with access, parking, landscaping and associated infrastructure. The integrated health and care hub will bring together a mix of health and care professionals in a single location to promote more joined up working between NHS, local authority and voluntary and community sector. The centre will host a wide range of services including GP Services, community and mental health services and social care for children and adults. 

The Council is working with Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Clinical Commissioning Group to achieve this vision for improving the health and wellbeing of Central Bedfordshire residents, through greater integration and partnership working.

A statement from the Council said, “Construction work could begin on 17 May and will be undertaken by Willmott Dixon, a locally-based design and build organisation with significant experience in the health hub and housing sectors. The work is expected to be completed by March 2023.”

Constructions costs are put at £24.7m for the Hub and housing at £18.3m according to a  CBC report.
A presentation on the Health Hubs for Central Bedfordshire took place on Wednesday, 14th April 2021 at 2:00pm:

Download the Presentation.

Your Questions on the Health Hub.