THE much-needed expansion of Great Western Hospital has moved a step closer.

GWH NHS Foundation Trust has bought five-and-a-half hectares of land near the Badbury Park development from Persimmon Homes and Redrow Thames Valley.

It says the move will help improve services and meet rising demand as Swindon's population grows rapidly.

The deal was made possible after a successful bid for £30 million of government funding in 2018.

GWH chief executive Kevin McNamara said: “This is a really exciting step forward in our plans to expand and improve our healthcare services for the people of Swindon – securing this land is an investment in Swindon.

“It is important not just for today but for future generations given a growing and ageing population.

“We want to use this land to develop health and care facilities on the Great Western Hospital site and now that we will secure the land, our attention and our work turns to securing funds to build and expand our services onto it.”

The trust’s Way Forward programme includes a number of hospital improvement projects.

They will see non-acute services relocated to the expansion land, which will facilitate the Urgent and Emergency Care capacity expansion in the main hospital, and will include the development of an Integrated Rehabilitation Facility.

Avison Young advised the Trust on the land purchase.

Principal Gordon Isgrove said: “The land has extant outline planning consent for hospital and healthcare uses, allowing GWH NHS Foundation Trust to move forward with its ambitious expansion plans in line with the wider growth of Swindon.

“It has been a very positive and collaborative approach throughout the acquisition with both Persimmon and Redrow supporting this important project.”

The option to purchase the parcel of land was made available to the Trust as part of the developers’ 2011 planning application through Swindon Borough Council. The ongoing mixed-use development on the remainder of the site comprises 890 homes being built by Persimmon and Redrow.

More developments will follow over the coming years and could include a new outpatient and diagnostic facility and a high-tech cancer centre.This will also sit on the expansion land.

The planned additions follow the Radiotherapy Centre and new Urgent Treatment Centre developments – both of which are already underway.

Managing director designate of Persimmon Homes Wessex, Julian Roper said: “We are delighted that this parcel of land is now in the hands of GWH and that work can begin on their exciting expansion plans.

“The new and improved services at the hospital, including the construction of a Rehabilitation Centre of Excellence, will be a real asset to the community being developed at Badbury Park.”

Land director for Redrow Thames Valley Charles Rafferty said: “We’re delighted that the land next to Great Western Hospital will be put to good use and help the trust expand its facilities to provide services for generations to come.

"Here at Redrow, we strive to create thriving communities, which is why it was so important to us that the land was made available for the hospital expansion.

"With our Badbury Park development just a stone’s throw away, the hospital is somewhere that members of our community already work and indeed, may require services from in the future.”