Kimbolton Road mental health facility plans include keeping original facade of Shires House

Bedford North Wing Fire 7
Much of Shires House was destroyed in the 2019 fire, but the facade remains

Plans to create a new regional mental health centre in Bedford include retaining the façade to Shires House, but demolishing Florence Ball House for parking.

Shires House was partially destroyed in a fire in 2019.

The Trustees of the House of Industry Estates Management Committee was given an update yesterday (Tuesday 8 March) on Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG) and the East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) plans to develop a portion of the land off Kimbolton Road, which the NHS leases from the House of Industry Charity.

The report said BLMKCCG and ELFT have been working together to develop proposals to improve mental health inpatient services.

Proposal Option 1A, which was included in the report, proposes that Gilbert Hitchcock House will be converted to a new primary care hub, including a fourth practice.

Florence Ball House would be demolished to provide consolidated parking.

The Shires House façade would be retained in front of a new building accommodating shared inpatient support and re-provided community mental health services from Florence Ball House.

The NHS has sought confirmation that, as landlords, the Trustees are comfortable with this general proposal.

The terms of the lease between The House of Industry Estate Charity and the NHS permit sub-lettings to other parts of NHS to proceed without seeking formal consent.

The report said car parking “may be tight” on the re-developed site, and officers suggested that NHS / ELFT consider “taking a lease from the Rugby Club of the adjacent 95 space car park”.

After the committee chair, councillor Christine McHugh (LibDems, Goldington Ward) checked that members were aware of the future of Shires House, the Committee noted progress on this by the NHS and ELFT without questions or comments.

The plans are at the formative stage and need to be developed further, prior to going out for formal consultation and then for planning.

by John Guinn Local Democracy Reporter
and Bedford Independent’s Erica Roffe

Now more than ever, we need your help to fund the Bedford Independent’s quality journalism that serves our community...

We choose to champion editorial independence, meaning we report the facts without bias and can stand up to those in power when we believe it’s needed.

We can give a voice to people in our community whose voices may otherwise not be heard. And we don’t have a paywall, so everyone can read the stories we publish for free.

But in this time of crisis, many news organisations all over the world are facing existential threat, with advertising revenues plummeting. We’re no different.

We work hard every day to bring you news, commentary, entertainment and announcements from across Bedford. We hope that, with your help, we’ll be able to continue this for many years to come.

Will you help sustain our work today by clicking below ? Even a small donation makes a difference for our future.

Thank you for your support.