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Councillors and Health Board to consider plans for new health and wellbeing campus in central Newtown

Powys County Council’s Cabinet and Powys Teaching Health Board are to consider the draft Strategic Outline Case (SOC) for the multi-agency health and wellbeing campus in the centre of Newtown. 

The North Powys Wellbeing (NPWB) Programme is a flagship programme of the Powys Regional Partnership Board, comprising Powys County Council, Powys Teaching Health Board, PAVO and other key partners.

The council’s Cabinet meeting takes place on Tuesday March 8th and will ask members to consider the North Powys Wellbeing Programme’s early plans before they are submitted to Welsh Government later in the year. Prior to the Cabinet Meeting, the SOC will also be considered by the council’s Health and Care Scrutiny Committee. On March 30th, Powys Teaching Health Board will consider the case.

The NPWB Programme has developed early ideas for the site which propose a replacement school for Ysgol Calon y Dderwen, health and social care facilities, a Health and Care Academy, short term supported housing, library and information facilities as well as shared community space. The provision of a small amount of accommodation for students attending the academy, new recruits to health and care jobs as well as locum health specialists is also being considered.

The plans also propose bringing enhanced diagnostic services to Newtown for the first time – together with day surgery - as the town’s health services integrate from several locations including the current hospital, Ynys y Plant, Bro Hafren and the Old College.

Ali Bulman is the council’s Executive Director for People and Organisation Development, the Director of Social Services and one of the two Senior Responsible Officers for the programme. She explained: “It’s important that people realise that we’ve got a long way to go to develop our plans and this SOC contains our current thinking on how the campus could be organised.”

The document contains early ‘proof of concept’ drawings – commissioned from Newtown-based Hughes Architects - which show how Newtown’s proposed health and well-being campus could shape up when it’s developed. However, the programme team is stressing that, with a target of late 2026 for the campus to be operational, there is still a lot of work to be done.

“My colleagues in the Transforming Education team are currently working with Ysgol Calon y Dderwen along with staff from Heart of Wales Property Services, and are preparing early designs for the new school building, to ensure that this exciting development will improve learner experiences for pupils attending the school in the future.

She explained that the Ysgol Calon y Dderwen development is likely to be the first to be finished, with the school looking to open in 2025. Funding permitting the remainder of the campus would be due to open the following year.

Hayley Thomas is the health board’s Deputy Chief Executive and is its Senior Responsible Officer for the programme: “We’ve carried out a lot of engagement work through the course of this work and the feedback is being fed into the plans. I’d like to thank everyone who responded to us and add that there will be many more opportunities to have a say in the coming months and years.”

Ms Thomas added: “Our programme team, working with clinicians and professionals has also been doing a lot of planning work to see what kind of health and care provision could be provided on the campus. We think we would have enough demand to support enhanced diagnostics and day case procedures on the site which would be a tremendous benefit to those people who have to travel outside north Powys currently to access such services.”

If the SOC is approved by Welsh Government, this will lead to the development of a further two business cases. The Transforming Education Team is following the same process following its SOC being approved in December 2020.

Supporting the council’s and health board’s work to decarbonise will be central to the plans, ensuring that all new buildings will be energy efficient, incorporating facilities for cyclists as well as carrying out a range of environmental surveys.