Frequently asked questions about Hellesdon New Wards

We have developed some frequently asked questions (FAQs)which will provide you with more information. If you have questions which haven’t been covered here, please do get in touch.

You can also download these question here FAQs [pdf] 669KB

What is the vision for the new wards site?

The Trust has a vision to employ an innovative approach in the development of this project, with a focus on both the internal and external spaces.

Our aim is to create an environment which is comfortable, welcoming, and helps service users to feel safe, as evidence shows this can have a positive impact on their recovery.

Placement of the new buildings within the site will connect with existing buildings and the wider environment. This approach will create a focused health campus.

Our architects, Hoopers, are working with Thinkbuild/PSYCH.RAUM, who help create spaces to support interaction and recovery, to create a more therapeutic environment for our patients. This collaboration will add an exciting and important dimension to the project.

Where has the funding come from?

Norfolk & Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) submitted a bid via Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) to NHS England for a “Hellesdon Ward Rebuild” project on July 2018. This bid was approved in August 2019 as part of the Wave 4B allocation. 

We were awarded £38m in Government funding to develop new facilities to benefit our patients. The current project budget is £45m, with the additional £7m coming from Trust capital reserves.

Has the project received planning permission? 

The project received Outline Planning Permission on 18 September 2020 from Broadland District Council under application No. 20201017. This permission was for the provision of five 16 bed wards. Having been granted Outline Planning Permission, an application for ‘Reserved Matters’ (more detailed information) is required and will address the conditions contained within the approval. It is anticipated the application for ‘Reserved Matters’ will be made on 14 February 2022.

Where will the new wards be built?

The new wards will be built on the undeveloped area opposite the current clinical buildings on the lower plateau.

What will the new campus look like? 

A predominantly single storey proposal reflects the scale and form of existing buildings remaining on the site. While a two-storey central Hub is used to navigate the change in levels across the site, sitting well in its surroundings.

What will the central Hub be used for?

Our existing wards will be linked to the new build by a welcoming central hub. This will be carefully designed to promote a feeling of community.

The Hub will be the heart of the campus connecting all the existing buildings and the community at large. It will include a new ‘fresh cook’ kitchen, café, central therapy spaces and entrance/reception. A double height atrium connects the space.

Connected, but at the very front of the development, there is a tribunal and gym space, set over the two levels, designed as a pavilion on the corner of the large Welcome Green. This is more removed from the very centre of the Hub to help support a more outward facing role, with further possibilities for community integration or out-patient areas.

How will the wards be used? 

Each of the wards have been designed with different patient groups in mind. These groups were identified in the Clinical Design Brief:

  • Short admissions: designed as a more open ward for people in need of a short respite or in a time of crisis.
  • Cloister: for people with a severe and recurrent mental illness with the ward structured around a protected ‘outside-room’ with natural light and planting.
  • Hive x 2 wards: designed for people who may be in hospital for between two and eight weeks. It will offer views of the natural surroundings and is closely linked to the Hub and plaza.
  • Lodge: potentially a mixed gender space for people who stay 60 days or more. This may be provided in the refurbished Yare Ward.

Both the new and existing wards will surround the Hub with carefully considered landscaping between providing therapeutic spaces for service users, visitors and staff.

Will the wards be single gender?

We are planning for four of the five wards to be single gender accommodation to improve safety, dignity and privacy of those we care for who are most unwell, in line with government guidance. The only mixed gender ward will be the longer stay ‘Lodge’.

What are you plans for developing the green space? 

The designs make full use of the natural environment at our Hellesdon site with the aim of providing a tranquil haven where both patients and staff can relax away from our clinical areas. We hope that this will have a positive impact on everyone’s wellbeing, while also playing an important role in our service users’ recovery.

The external spaces are considered to have the same level of importance as the ward environments. They provide an opportunity for relaxation, exercise, gardening activities and a chance to meet with family and friends.

They will play a part in creating a welcoming and positive atmosphere, giving the new campus a real identity and will help people to navigate their way around the site.

How secure will the new site be?

Secure boundaries are being created within the building footprint and ward environment as well as around the site boundaries with higher levels of safety and security in the wards that require them.

Have service users and carers been involved in the development of the plans?

We have been listening carefully to our service users, staff and partners as these concepts have been developed which has been essential in helping to shape these designs. We will continue to incorporate people’s feedback as we move forward to this next stage of development as the detailed plans start to take shape.

From the beginning of the project, we have fully involved people with experience of inpatient units in planning and delivering this major project and continue to invite service users and carers to get involved. They will play an important role throughout the project by ensuring that the voices of the people who use our services are heard

throughout and their views taken into account. Our People Participation Leads have also been instrumental in gathering feedback from our inpatient units.

Our first workshops took place in April and May 2020 when we explored the demands on our inpatient services now and going forward. This was followed by further workshops,1:1 sessions and design workshops with service users, carers, staff, Governors and partners.

Service user and carer feedback on the importance of freshly cooked food, exercise, activities, relaxation and outside space saw the inclusion of a fresh cook kitchen, a gym, comfort rooms, activity and group rooms and extensive landscaping in the concept designs.

Will access to the Hellesdon site change? 

The entrance to the site will be via the Hospital Road entrance.

Efficient use of existing car parking space and better arrangements for pedestrians, cycling, drop off zones and taxi use will help to reduce the dominance of vehicles by giving priority to planned external spaces. This will help to create a more restful environment for people on the wards.

What about additional noise and light on the site?

The shape of the site and careful arrangement of the physical landscape allows the new buildings to nestle into the landscape and provide natural protection from noise and light while providing necessary safety and security levels. 

Will water and drainage be an issue?

A strategy was developed at outline planning stage that ensures all existing and new drainage requirements are dealt with within the existing site.

When will the new wards open? 

The plan is that the new wards will be operational by March 2024.

Are there any plans to develop the upper and middle plateau area?

The Trust is planning to progress with the submission of an outline planning application for the redevelopment of the upper plateau of the site. Consultants have just been appointed to work on this project and it is hoped that an application will be ready within the next 12 months. The majority of the middle plateau will be retained as this is required for open space for the whole site and is where existing car parking is located.

Once planning consent has been granted and alternative locations for our corporate teams have been identified and secured, then the disposal of the upper site can proceed.

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