Campaigners for new West Herts hospital raise £20K for legal battle
Campaigners for a new hospital are celebrating after raising £20,000 to take health bosses to a judicial review.
The New Hospital Campaign (NHC) had already been told it could bring a case against Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) over plans to develop health services.
Now funds are secured, the High Court will review the CCG's decision not to hold a full public consultation.
The challenge surrounds the calls for a new hospital to be built on greenbelt land - and the decision by health bosses to instead refurbish the existing hospitals at Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans, with the bulk of the £400million investment at Watford General.
It is not a challenge to the conclusion by health bosses, but the way in which a decision has been made and the procedures followed.
Spokesperson Edie Glatter said: “We would like to thank the local community for their huge support and generosity and everyone who has helped to spread the word.
"You have made it possible for us to reach yet another milestone, following the boost we got a few weeks ago when a judge granted us permission to bring the case, which is only given to about one in five claims, and he also set a cap on our possible costs."
The campaign group thanked lawyers at Leigh Day and Co together with barristers from Matrix Chambers are now waiting for the date of the full hearing
"It is essential that the local health bodies now run a full and fair consultation including taking a serious look at building a new hospital on a clear site that everyone in West Hertfordshire can get to," Edie added.
"It is the only way our local hospital provision can be transformed as it truly needs to be because it is in far worse condition than that of most other areas”.
A spokesman for Herts Valleys CCG said: "We at Herts Valleys CCG, together with colleagues at West Herts Hospitals Trust, were very pleased with the recent announcement of funding for plans to carry out extensive redevelopment of current hospital facilities.
"We are waiting for further details and we are also defending the judicial review claim brought by a group of local campaigners."