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24 July 2015, 06:00
It might have been one small spade... but there's been a giant leap forward for work on the Watford Health Campus.
It's after works' started on a new road to improve access to Watford Hospital.
Dorothy Thornhill, Elected Mayor of Watford, Jac Kelly, Interim Chief Executive at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust and Leigh Thomas, Managing Director from Kier Property celebrated the milestone by joining together to put the first spade in the ground.
They also took the opportunity to meet some of the team from VolkerFitzpatrick, the contractors delivering the £18.5m new road whichi will speed up journey times to and from the hospital for emergency vehicles as well as patients, visitors and staff; due to open in autumn 2016.
Dorothy Thornhill said:
"It is great to see things really starting to happen on the Health Campus and to know that, in just over a year's time, it will be easier and quicker to get to our hospital, which will make a big difference. Now it is onwards with other parts of the scheme including a purpose built business area for new, local jobs."
The NHS granted the Trust which runs Watford Hospital £7m towards supporting the cost of the road, with the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) contributing a further £6m from its Growing Places Fund, in recognition of the importance of the Watford Health Campus scheme to the local economy.
Over the next 15 - 20 years, the Health Campus will transform 65 acres of land surrounding Watford Hospital, creating an attractive new community that will deliver over 1,000 new jobs, 750 homes and local retail and leisure facilities, The plans for the area also include new public open realm, play spaces and green infrastructure that will open up the Colne River Valley, bringing benefits to those working and visiting the hospital as well as to new and existing local residents.