Health and education for Richmond: Works to get underway on new healthcare facility and school at Barnes Hospital

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29 Feb Health and education for Richmond: Works to get underway on new healthcare facility and school at Barnes Hospital

South West London and St George’s Mental Health NHS Trust have today announced the start of a major programme of regeneration at the Barnes Hospital site in South West London.

Following local consultations in Richmond over a number of years, the creation of a new healthcare facility and a special educational needs (SEN) school called the London River Academy, will now breathe new life into the Barnes site. The NHS Trust together with LocatED, a government-owned property company and an arm’s-length body of the Department for Education, are overseeing the delivery of the scheme.

The new healthcare facility will be home to Richmond’s adult community mental health services, providing NHS outpatient support to those experiencing a range of mental health issues. The London River Academy, operated by the Beckmead Trust, will be a 90-place school for children with social and emotional mental health (SEMH) needs. Together this will create a vibrant new community, uplifting health and educational provision and dramatically improving key infrastructure in the borough.

Chief Executive of South West London and St. George’s Mental Health NHS Trust, Vanessa Ford said: “Through our Better Communities programme, we are working to transform care and environments across South West London to deliver even better care for our patients and service users. Barnes Hospital is a really important part of this, and we are delighted that works will now begin to create a bold new landscape that breaks mental health stigma and brings our services closer to the community we serve.”

LocatED Chief Executive, Lara Newman said: “This important development will deliver much-needed public services in Barnes and support to the local community. This could only be achieved with the close collaboration of two dedicated public sector organisations. We are very pleased to be working with our partners on this vital project and using our expertise in school-led mixed-use development to make it a reality.”

Chief Executive of the Beckmead Trust, Dr Jonty Clark OBE, said: “The Beckmead Trust are delighted to partner with the local authority to provide sponsorship for this exciting new school. The children who attend The London River Academy will receive a nurturing education that prioritises responsibility, resilience, great outcomes and a sense of community. The Trust runs several academies in London, providing outstanding education for children and young people with additional and complex needs.”

The redevelopment of Barnes is part of a major programme of rebuilding and redeveloping mental health facilities across South West London called Better Environments. This started with the development of Springfield University Hospital in Wandsworth, will see redevelopment at the Barnes Hospital and Richmond Royal sites, and will conclude with the development of Tolworth Hospital in Kingston, with the latter pending final funding and approval. In all, this represents a near-£300m investment in new mental health facilities for South West London.

Ahead of the redevelopment phase at Barnes, all NHS teams previously based there relocated temporarily to Teddington in Richmond, meaning there will be no disruption to local services. Following completion in spring 2025, services will return to Barnes, with the school due to open in autumn 2025 in line with the new school year.

Like many parts of the NHS Trust’s aging estate in South West London, the Barnes site had been underused for more than a decade. The age and condition of the existing buildings meant they were no longer suitable for modern mental healthcare or refurbishment. Following planning approval granted for the school and healthcare facility in October 2023, construction is now due to get underway at Barnes this summer, with removal and demolition works scheduled for May 2024.

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