Bringing health to the high street has been a priority for Barnsley, the partners said. Credit: Barnsley Council

Health hub lined up for Barnsley Alhambra

Following the community diagnostic centre opened at the Glass Works in 2022, the local authority and partners are seeking a further redevelopment of former retail space to health and wellbeing services.

At the Alhambra shopping centre, Barnsley Council is working with Barnsley Hospital, Barnsley Premier Leisure, South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority, the Alhambra and The Glass Works.

This follows the announcement in September 2023 that Barnsley Council had purchased the leasehold of the shopping centre. The hospital’s board has now agreed an outline business case for the new venture.

Barnsley Hospital is planning to move some of its outpatient services out of the hospital into the new hub at the Alhambra. This will help reduce missed appointments and help improve health outcomes.

The estimate is that more than 100,000 visits a year could be made to the Alhambra instead of Barnsley Hospital, reducing traffic and pressure on parking in the area around the hospital, while also bringing more visitors and economic benefit into the town centre.

A key part of the health and wellbeing hub will be delivered by BPL, which is planning a ‘Your Space Feel Good Hub’ offering a range of health, fitness, and wellbeing activities.

Potentially, there will also be other community spaces.

The project also plans to invest in the existing retail offer in the Alhambra, improving lighting, seating, and overall experience for customers.

The hub provides an opportunity to build on the success of the trailblazing NHS Community Diagnostic Centre operated by Barnsley Hospital. Located in the heart of the £220m Glass Works shopping centre, the CDC opened in April 2022 offering a range of diagnostic services, such as CT scans, ultrasounds, x-ray, and blood services.

An example of the CDC’s success is a 22% increase in uptake in breast screening appointments.

Cllr Sir Steve Houghton, leader of Barnsley Council, said: “Once again, Barnsley is leading the way by using innovative approaches to make health services more accessible to the people of Barnsley.

“We’re delighted to announce our plans to create a health and wellbeing hub at the Alhambra Shopping Centre, benefiting the whole community.

This is a great example of how we’re working with our partners to use our town centre assets and deliver high-quality services and facilities for our residents. The health and wellbeing hub will improve our people’s health and wellbeing and boost the footfall and vibrancy of our town centre.

“Barnsley is a bold and innovative place that is leading the way in high street regeneration, and we are proud of what we’re achieving together.”

Bob Kirton, Barnsley Hospital managing director, said: “Feedback from staff and patients has consistently demonstrated Barnsley town centre is a popular and convenient location for healthcare appointments.

“Located within a short distance from bus routes and with easy access to nearby parking, bringing healthcare to the high street will not only help reduce missed appointments, but will also improve health outcomes for people who will be more able to access vital services in a place familiar to them.”

Further details will be announced in due course, the partners said.

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Great idea , 100% behind the development ,will certainly relieve traffic on Gawber Road , as well as being so covenient for the people of Barnsley .

By Margaret Gillott

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