Councillors have encouraged campaigners who are calling for a new A&E hospital to get behind the redevelopment of Watford General.

At a full council meeting on Tuesday night, members from both sides of the chamber at Watford Borough Council (WBC) welcomed a decision made by West Herts Hospitals Trust to retain emergency facilities in Watford and spend money on modernising facilities.

The trust is battling for £350m from the government and it is believed they are “closer than ever” to securing the money.

However, campaigners continue to call for a new hospital which is more accessible to Watford, Hemel Hempstead, and St Albans.

A new hospital hasn’t been ruled out but the trust says it cannot afford to build a new A&E site – the Mayor of Watford Peter Taylor suggested a cost of around £1bn.

It was Lib Dem councillor Iain Sharpe who proposed a motion at the meeting which includes WBC “opposing continued attempts to promote an alternative site for services”.

He said: “A dream site for a hospital does not exist. Watford can be delivered sooner, cost less, and receive government funding. We want real action now. Our hospital is in the heart of the most highly populated town, it is walkable to rail stations, and the council has helped free up space for clinical facilities.”

An amendment by Labour group leader Cllr Nigel Bell was accepted where he called on Watford MP Richard Harrington to get the full funding needed for a world class hospital in the town. But Cllr Bell added that £350m was “not enough” for “proper modernisation” of Watford as well as different care centres across south west Herts.

Labour councillor Asif Khan added: “We need to get on with it. We need to present a unified force. Watford is a prime place for the hospital.

Mr Taylor added: “We've made absolutely clear as a council that the time for talking is over; we need to all get behind our hospital and back new and improved facilities for our town.

“The trust has consistently ruled out a new hospital outside of Watford, something that would almost certainly result in the slow death of Watford General.

"Investment is good for all of south west Hertfordshire so St Albans, Hemel, and Abbots Langley should support this because we are fighting for the money against other trusts in the UK."

‘We've recently given the green light for a much needed multi storey car park at the Hospital and now it's time to deliver hospital facilities fit for the 21st century for staff and patients.”