The Mayor of Watford says the time has come to back our hospital trust and its redevelopment plans.

Despite campaigners fighting for a new hospital elsewhere in the area, West Herts Hospitals Trust (WHHT) is instead focused on modernising Watford General Hospital (WGH) and ruled out building a new hospital.

The mayor Peter Taylor says redevelopment of WGH is "deliverable" whereas a proposed new hospital is not.

He said: “The debate of our hospital has been going on for decades but now it’s time to get behind the hospital and back the trust.

“The trust is closer than ever to securing the funding it needs. People want improvements but they need to get behind the hospital. Redevelopment will bring with it modern buildings. We’ve granted permission for a multi-storey car park.

“The department for health knows Watford General needs better buildings. It’s time we just get on with it.”

Just next to the hospital site is the ongoing Riverwell development which will bring new homes, shops, a hotel, and a primary school. Riverwell supposedly also allows room to expand the current hospital.

On Riverwell, Mr Taylor added: “A lot of this is disused industrial land and it’s not exactly beautiful at the moment. It’s a gradual process and regeneration of the area which we’ve already seen such as Thomas Sawyer Way.”

But not everyone is a fan of redeveloping Watford General Hospital.

This week, Hemel Hempstead MP Sir Mike Penning spoke in Parliament where he called on the trust to take the “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to build a new hospital between Leverstock Green and the M1.

West Herts Trust is also responsible for hospitals in Hemel and St Albans.

Sir Mike said: “The new-build option is supported by all groups of the community, all political parties and hospital campaigners. It would be easily accessible to all three local towns

“However, the trust are refusing to include the new build option in their Strategic Outline Case (SOC) as they say the cost is prohibitive at £750 million and they could only borrow £350 million.”

Trusts can’t borrow a figure more than their annual turnover which is £340m for WHHT.