Progress on £70m Fort George health hub with land transferring to Western Trust
The Permanent Secretary at DoH, Peter May, disclosed the development in correspondence with local Sinn Féin MLA Pádraig Delargy, who described the land transfer as ‘very welcome progress on what will be a major investment not only in the economy and regeneration of this city but in the healthcare of the people who live here’.
Mr. May wrote to Mr. Delargy on Tuesday of this week indicating that the acquisition of a portion of the large Foyleside site will be transferred in the ‘current financial year’, which ends on Friday.
"You will be aware that the Fort George site is owned by the Department for Communities (DfC) and the DoH interest lies in the acquisition of a portion of the site to accommodate a new Cityside Health and Care Centre.
"I am pleased to confirm that the acquisition of the main plot of land to accommodate the Cityside Health and Care Centre has been agreed and the site will transfer to the Western Health and Social Care Trust in the current financial year.
"The acquisition of a smaller plot of land to accommodate parking will proceed in 2023/24 when the site masterplan and planning considerations have been further refined.
"The Trust will now proceed to develop a business case for the construction project and dependent on the approval of that case and budget availability, the project is expected to proceed to procurement in 2024/25.”
Mr. Delargy said it was positive news that the massive project is moving forward.
“The Department has confirmed to me that it has now acquired a significant portion of land at Fort George which will accommodate the planned new £70 million Cityside Health and Care Centre.
“This follows the decision of then Sinn Féin Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey to allow the Western Health and Social Care Trust to purchase the land it requires at Fort George.
“Significantly, the department also confirmed that the Trust will now proceed to develop a business case for the project with procurement of the overall scheme expected to proceed in 2024/25,” he stated.
It has been forecast that the £70m health hub will result in the relocation of 450 existing jobs from a range of disciplines on the Fort George site with an additional 250 new jobs also expected to be created.
Last year the Western Trust indicated that the project remained at early development stage and that it was continuing to liaise with DfC on the transfer of an appropriate plot of land for the centre.
An Integrated Consultancy Team (ICT) has been appointed by the local health authority to lead the design process for the proposed project.
Last August the Trust indicated that the next steps include continuing with the design development process and eventually commencing a planning application process.